An International Perspective on China’s ‘Energy Dilemma’

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China – as the world’s second largest energy consumer after the United States – must focus its energy strategy for the new millennium around the three fundamentals of growth, energy security, and environmental sustainability. To do otherwise would be at its peril. Analysts from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reached this conclusion after taking into account the substantial surge in the country’s energy demand and imports over the past five years. China’s increased dependence on world market conditions and the tensions that exist between the country’s energy supply and its steadily rising demand were also noted.

China – as the world’s second largest energy consumer after the United States – must focus its energy strategy for the new millennium around the three fundamentals of growth, energy security, and environmental sustainability. To do otherwise would be at its peril.

Analysts from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences reached this conclusion after taking into account the substantial surge in the country’s energy demand and imports over the past five years. China’s increased dependence on world market conditions and the tensions that exist between the country’s energy supply and its steadily rising demand were also noted.

The results of this study – published in the March/April 2006 issue of China & World Economy by Blackwell Publishing, in partnership with the Institute of World Economics and Politics – also provides an international perspective in the China ‘energy dilemma’ issue.

The Central Government has acknowledged the catch-22 predicament China faces: to continue harnessing its coal supplies for energy at the cost of environmental degradation and potential health issues – which would bring on the inevitable backlash from lobbyists; or to switch to oil as a source of energy – leaving the country’s energy security vulnerable to market fluctuations and the nation dependent on imports.

The issue of increased demands placed on the country’s energy sector – as a direct result of China’s current buoyant ‘hyper-economic growth’ phase, and the boom in its cities’ infrastructure, real estate and construction; has ironically led to its economic growth being ‘bottlenecked’ through a serious electricity shortage. The Government must focus on developing an effective energy strategy that strikes a balance between rapidly rising energy consumption and the county’s emphasis on establishing stable economic growth – bearing in mind that this new strategy must also achieve developmental and environmental sustainability.

This paper also discusses the topic of Sino-US relationships, and explores the differing interests and strategies influencing the manner in which the American and Chinese economies base their energy policies upon. Current conflicting energy stratagems of China and the USA see vastly differing attitudes in their management of oil supplies – a potential cause of tension between Beijing and Washington. A further likely strain upon bilateral relations is evidenced by China’s increasing influence in some “rogue states” within the Middle East, Africa and South America – relations that may be viewed as a potential threat to the American paradigm.

China’s entry to the global community and her integration into the world’s economic stage means that her growing demand for oil will have great bearing on the international markets. Whether of not the oft-prescribed mutual cooperation solution will eventuate is yet to be seen, but with the country’s rising profile in the international and economic arena, this ‘energy dilemma’ is set to become the international community’s most difficult challenge yet.

This study is published in the March/April issue of the China & World Economy (93-104, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2006). Media wishing to receive a PDF, please contact alina.boey@asia.blackwellpublishing.com

About China & World Economy

China & World Economy was launched in 1993 by the Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Originally self-published, the journal begins its official publishing partnership with Blackwell Publishing in 2006.

Published six times a year, this journal combines original academic research works with policy review articles – many of its authors are distinguished Chinese economists from both academic and governmental circles. As the only English language journal in China devoted to the topic of Chinese economics, readers can expect objective, analytical and up-to-date quality content. With distinguished contributors such as economists from both the government and academic circles, the journal will provide an informed and balanced window on China, and will undoubtedly become essential reading for all those interested in China’s development.

Blackwell Publishing in China

Since beginning its publishing program in China in November 2000, Blackwell Publishing has been involved in several partnerships with leading academic institutions, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Shanghai Institute of Biological Sciences, the Institute of Zoology, the Institute of Botany and the Chinese Society of Gastroenterology, and the Chinese Medical Association Shanghai Branch.

About Blackwell Publishing

Blackwell Publishing is the world’s leading society publisher, partnering with 665 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date has published close to 6,000 books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects. The company remains independent with 950 staff members in offices in the US, UK, Australia, China, Denmark, Singapore, Germany, and Japan. Blackwell’s mission as an expert publisher is to create long-term partnerships with clients to enhance learning, disseminate research, and improve the quality of professional practice. For more information on Blackwell Publishing, please visit http://www.blackwellpublishing.com or http://www.blackwell-synergy.com.

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Alina Boey
BLACKWELL PUBLISHING
613-8359 1046
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