There are a number of reasons to be concerned about China’s energy situation and, specifically, its need to meet the growing demand for additional sources of energy in light of the expanding economy.
Protecting the global environment: China’s large-scale emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and other pollutants degrade global air quality and climate stability. Taking action now, ahead of the steep growth curve, provides a unique opportunity to provide new directions for meeting energy needs that will have less impacts on the environment.
Improving global access to energy-efficient products: Implementing demand side management policies and programs will build a market in China for energy-efficient products (such as household appliances, commercial heating and cooling units, and industrial motors), This development will result in greater access, and reduced prices, for such products worldwide, meaning global reductions in energy consumption and environmental damage.
Increasing energy reliability: Energy shortages have interrupted industrial and commercial operations throughout China. It is in the best interest of anyone with current or potential business in China to support efforts to improve reliability of energy supplies and reduce the likelihood of blackouts.
Furthermore, US-based utilities, industries, and government agencies have been leaders in developing programs and policies to improve energy efficiency and to provide incentives to industrial, commercial and residential users to minimize energy consumption. As global citizens, we should endeavor to share our knowledge and experience and, in particular, help China adapt these policies and programs as its economy expands.
China is one of the most promising areas in the world for significant advances in energy and environmental policies, with resultant global benefits. In fact, if China were to meet just 1/10 of its incremental electricity requirements with efficiency measures, it can avoid an average of 262 million metric tons/year of carbon emissions over the next five years. One-tenth is a modest goal given China’s ambitions in this area, and the fact that since 1975 California has been able meet over 40% of its electricity needs using efficiency measures.