China disputes energy-use rank (2)

08:43, July 21, 2010      

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"But there is no need for China to feel bad about it. Nor is it necessary for the world to be surprised. The energy growth is compliant with the economic expansion," he said.

Lin Boqiang, director of the China Center for Energy Economics Research at Xiamen University, told the Global Times that the world's No. 1 title isn't that significant, since the country's population is four times that of the US. "What matters is the per capita energy use," he said.

The IEA report said energy consumption in China is around one-fifth of that in the US on a per capita basis.

However, Lin warned that the title would make the country vulnerable to international energy pricing and increasing dependence on energy imports will put China's energy security at great political and financial risk.

China seemed to have been in a disadvantageous position in negotiating over prices of key energy such as iron ore, oil and copper.

The issue was highlighted recently after mining giants Vale, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto threatened in April to cut supplies to China unless steel makers accepted their price demands.

The China Iron and Steel Association finally compromised and allowed steel makers to reach temporary private deals with iron ore producers.

Lack of efficiency cited

The IEA report said the US had improved its energy efficiency by 2.5 percent annually over the past decade while China had only recorded a 1.7 percent annual improvement.

Hu, the NDRC researcher, acknowledged that the country's lower energy efficiency is one rea-son that contributes to the its whopping energy use, but she also argued that "China's energy effi-ciency is higher than that of the US if we compare it within the same stage of development."

However, Zou Ji, with the School of Environment and Nature Resources at Renmin University, warned that huge energy consumption is likely to further dampen the country's already fragile ecological system.

China has vowed to increase the use of renewable and new energy resources, including solar power and hydroelectric power, to reverse negative impacts brought by energy consumption on the environment, Zou said.

"But the dependence on coal and oil will not be changed within the next two decades," Zou said, adding that "The IEA data could be seen as an impellor for China to improve its energy efficiency and structure through technological progress and raise the public awareness on energy efficiency."

Guo Qiang, Duan Congcong and agencies contributed to this story

Source: Global Times
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