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Four Challenges for "Low-carbon Economy"

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Four Challenges for "Low-carbon Economy"

Post  rihanna on Tue Jul 19, 2011 9:53 pm

In the situation of global warming, "low-carbon economy", based on low power consumption and low pollution, has become a global hot spot. American and European countries vigorously promote the "low-carbon revolution" with the core as energy efficiency and low emission. They focus on developing "low-carbon technologies" and make great adjustments to the policies of industry, energy, technology, trade and so on. A battle for “low-carbon economy” has quietly started in the world. This is a pressure as well as a challenge for China.

The First Challenge:
With the acceleration of industrialization, urbanization and modernization, the energy demand is growing rapidly in China. The large-scale infrastructure construction should not be stopped. Poverty and backwardness have struck China for long time. In pursuit of all-round well-off society, China has made great effort to improve and enhance the living standard and life quality for 1.3 billion people. As a result, one difficult problem for China is how to ensure the rising of people's living standard, while in the mean time, not to repeat the traditional development pattern in western developed countries, in which development is achieved at the expense of environment.

The Second Challenge:
The resource condition of "rich coal, less gas and short of petroleum" determines the coal-dominated source structure in China. China has very limited choice in low-carbon energy resources. Hydroelectric power only accounts for about 20% of electric power, while thermal power accounts for more than 77%. "High carbon" is absolutely in the dominant position. It is calculated that burning one ton of coal will produce 4.12 tons of carbon dioxide gas, which is 30% and 70% more respectively than that produced by oil and natural gas. However, it is estimated that, over the next 20 years, China's energy sector will invest 1.8 trillion U.S. dollars in electricity. The threats of large-scale development of thermal power to the environment can not be ignored.

The Third Challenge:
The main part of the China's economy is the second industry, which determines the major sector of energy consumption is industry. Data shows that, from 1993 to 2005, China's average annual growth rate of industrial energy consumption was 5.8%. The industrial energy consumption accounted for about 70% of total energy consumption. In 2005, the energy consumption of the high energy consumption industries such as mining, steel, building materials cement, electricity power, etc, accounted for 64.4% of the industrial energy consumption. So it is a major issue for China to adjust economic structure and improve industrial production technology and energy application level.

The Fourth Challenge:
As a developing country, the biggest restriction for China's economy transition from the "high carbon" to "low carbon" is the overall scientific and technological backwardness and limited R & D capabilities. Although the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" stipulates that the developed countries are under an obligation of transferring technology to developing countries. However, the real situation is far from satisfaction. China has to depend mainly on commercial channels to import advance technologies. It is estimated that, according to the GDP in 2006, China needs an annual fund of 25 billion U.S. dollars to achieve the transition from "high-carbon economy" to "low-carbon economy". Such huge investment is obviously a heavy burden for China.


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