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China Not A Threat To Global Energy Security

China has enormous reserves of coal, which provide the bulk of its power requirements, but this causes massive pollution, an issue which has steadily moved up the country's agenda. In recent years, its booming economy has led to a huge increase in oil imports, which analysts say has been at least partly responsible for the recent rise in global oil prices. But Ma questioned why China's growing consumption has raised so much global concern when the per capita energy consumption of its 1.3 billion people and its percentage of imported oil remains far lower than that of other countries such as the United States. He said in 2005, China's per capita oil imports were 100 kilograms, compared to 2.1 tonnes in the United States and nearly that much for Japan.
by Dan Martin
Beijing (AFP) March 7, 2007
China's rapidly growing economy poses no threat to global energy security, the nation's top planner said Wednesday, arguing the country can provide for its own power needs. "Not only is China not a threat to global energy security but it is a positive factor in safeguarding the world's energy security," said Ma Kai, head of the National Development and Reform Commission.

"We completely have the ability to continue to mainly rely on ourselves to solve the problem of meeting demand for energy," he told a press briefing in Beijing.

Ma said that in the past nearly 30 years of reform, China had relied on its own resources for about 90 percent of its energy needs.

China has enormous reserves of coal, which provide the bulk of its power requirements, but this causes massive pollution, an issue which has steadily moved up the country's agenda.

In recent years, its booming economy has led to a huge increase in oil imports, which analysts say has been at least partly responsible for the recent rise in global oil prices.

But Ma questioned why China's growing consumption has raised so much global concern when the per capita energy consumption of its 1.3 billion people and its percentage of imported oil remains far lower than that of other countries such as the United States.

He said in 2005, China's per capita oil imports were 100 kilograms, compared to 2.1 tonnes in the United States and nearly that much for Japan.

"I find it very difficult to understand why people don't accuse those countries that have such high levels of imports and consumption, but they accuse China, which has such low levels," he said.

"I don't think this is understandable, neither is it fair."

Ma said China has been actively building up its strategic oil reserves to ensure national energy and economic security.

China's surging energy needs have made conservation and pollution reduction top priorities.

However, Ma said China was backing off annual targets for energy savings and pollution cuts that it missed in 2006.

He said hitting the annual goals would be unrealistic given how slowly some conservation measures would be felt.

But he said China would stick to its longer-term 2010 goals to cut energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent and output of major pollutants by 10 percent from 2005 levels.

"The target will never be changed and the Chinese people will be steadfast in realising these targets," he said.

China had been trying to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by four percent each year and pollution by two percent each year as part of the overall 2010 goals, but came nowhere near that last year.

Those annual targets will be scrapped in favour of "more accurate" yearly goals, Ma said, without giving specifics.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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