Skip to main content

CHINA Aktuell


Andreas Oberheitmann

Approaches towards Sustainable Development in China

China aims at quadrupling its real GDP by 2020 compared to the year 2000. Without any energy and environmental policy measures, this tremendous economic growth would be associated with a quadrupling of primary energy consumption up to 4.5 bn tons of standard coal equivalents (sce) and energy-related CO2-emissions of 11.5 bn tons. Given these expectations, China is urgently searching for a way to ease these negative implications of economic growth and has committed itself to achieve a level of 3.0 bn t sce primary energy consumption in 2020. As a consequence, the macro-economic energy intensity has to be reduced by 35 percent by 2020. In 2000, however, the average energy intensity in terms of energy consumption per unit industrial output was about 50 percent higher in China than in industrialised countries. Coming from this level, a reduction of 35 percent by 2020 would lead to an energy intensity representing roughly the year-2000 level of developed countries. This is a very demanding goal: depending on the specific industrial process, the decrease of energy intensity in the forthcoming 20 years has to be two to five times higher than what was achieved during the past two decades. Yet, only this path may help to achieve a sustainable development in China.

Oberheitmann, A. (2005), Approaches towards Sustainable Development in China. CHINA Aktuell, 4, 41-64

Link to the document