As a developing country undergoing remarkable economic growth, China’s escalating energy consumption and recent reversal in energy efficiency gains are disconcerting for both its national government and the global community. Without ecological energy policymaking, China’s increased energy demand will inevitably result in further degradation of global natural resources, exacerbated pollution, and increased greenhouse gas emissions.
In her study, Nina Xin Zheng therefore examines national and regional energy trends in China, highlighting the potential for improved industrial energy efficiency by addressing existing energy paradoxes.
She analyzes China’s national energy trends in the global context to explore the factors behind higher energy consumption and lower industrial energy efficiency gains. In the national context, case studies of two different provinces reveal regional disparities in the energy trends of developing coastal and undeveloped inland provinces.
These analyses present new insights into regional energy intensity trends and development experiences that enable a more nuanced assessment of the factors driving energy use and the applicability of foreign energy efficiency policy instruments in China. In accounting for existing challenges to improving energy efficiency, an examination of successful energy policies and reforms abroad offers optimism for China’s potential in achieving truly sustainable development.
With growing economic, environmental and security linkages between China’s energy use and the global community, greater understanding of its recent energy trends is crucial for sustainable development. For other provinces in China, recognizing the contributing factors to regional energy disparities and Guangdong’s successes provide opportunities for improving energy efficiency while undergoing development.
For the global community, greater awareness of China’s energy challenges presents new opportunities for promoting ecological energy policy in China and other countries undergoing economic development to mitigate rising global energy concerns. Ultimately, China’s successes and challenges in addressing its rising energy consumption and declining industrial energy efficiency embody universal lessons on the role of ecological energy policy in the 21st century.