Energy Use and CO2 Emissions in China: Retrospect and Prospect

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Sheehan, Peter and Sun, Fiona (2006) Energy Use and CO2 Emissions in China: Retrospect and Prospect. Working Paper. Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.


For more than two decades after the ‘opening to the market’ in 1979 China achieved rapid expansion with low growth in energy use, the energy growth rate being only about half that of GDP. This has not continued in recent years; over 2001-05 real GDP grew by 45% and energy use by 57%. During 1979-2001 falling energy intensities, in both secondary and tertiary industries, substantially offset the impact on energy demand of high growth and structural change, but the decline in sectoral intensities ceased after 2001. China will find difficult to achieve further reductions in energy intensity prior to 2010, and major policy initiatives or structural change may be necessary to return to an energy elasticity of GDP of much less than one. An unchanged policy projection shows growth in energy use and CO2 emissions from fuel combustion in China over 2002-30 of 6.7% and 6.5% per annum respectively. Such growth will place heavy pressure on both Chinese and global supplies of energy, and will have major implications for the world’s climate.

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Additional Information
Item type Monograph (Working Paper)
DOI Climate Change Working Paper No. 4
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 300000 Agricultural, Veterinary and Environmental Sciences
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES)
Keywords China, emission, energy use, energy growth, GDP
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