In a report published Wednesday, Li Wei, the director of the State Council’s Development Research Center, addresses China’s growing dependence on coal and oil. According to the report, China will consume 800 million tons of oil a year by 2030, a 60 percent increase from 2013. Of that 800 million tons, China will import about 75 percent of its oil from the Middle East–China is set to surpass the United States to become the world’s leading importer of oil this year. With the United States attempting to move towards greener forms of energy and energy independence, Li Wei warns against the instability that the United States’ withdrawal from the international energy market might cause.
While China’s oil consumption is great, its coal consumption is even greater (Coal makes up about 2/3 of China’s energy consumption, while oil only accounts for 1/5 of it). As Bloomer touched on in his post [and Austin Miller in an earlier post], China has taken measures to clean up some of its major cities. While Shanghai and Beijing face bans on new coal power plant construction, over 363 new coal power plants have been proposed in the poor central and western regions of the country. The effect of the pollution these power plants cause is evident, with life expectancy rates almost five years lower in areas where coal use is abundant. It will be interesting to see what steps, if any, the Chinese government takes to curb its energy dependence, and the effect they may or may not have on the global economy.