Challenges of rapid economic growth in China: reconciling sustainable energy use, environmental stewardship and social development
China aims at quadrupling per-capita 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 6.3 billion tons of standard coal equivalents (sce) and energy-related CO2-emissions of 13.9 billion tons Against this background, this paper is to set China's need to implement its sustainable development strategy into the quantitative context of the countries economic development and subsequent economic growth-related environmental problems. China is urgently searching for a way to ease the negative implications of economic growth and has committed itself to achieve a level of 3.0 billion ton sce primary energy consumption in 2020. As a consequence, the macro-economic energy intensity has to be reduced by 53% by 2020. A reduction of 53% by 2020 would lead to an energy intensity level 30% points below the year-2000 level of developed countries. As for natural resources, the expected economic growth will lead to an increase of crude oil net-imports up to 455 million ton sce in 2020 and 650 million ton sce in 2030. As for regional income distribution, economic growth helped to decrease existing inequities.
Oberheitmann, A. and Y. Li (2009), Challenges of rapid economic growth in China: reconciling sustainable energy use, environmental stewardship and social development. Energy Policy, 37, 4, 1412-1422