China's ongoing energy efficiency drive: Origins, progress and prospects
In 2004 China's government launched a vigorous programme to reverse the trend of rising national energy intensity and to reduce intensity by 20% over the period 2006-2010. The aim of this paper is to examine this programme in the context of nearly 30 years of measures to enhance energy efficiency in China, and thus to evaluate the likelihood that today's policies will yield improvements over a longer period. The country achieved a sustained decline of energy intensity in the period 1980-2001 but this trend was reversed in 2002. This reversal arose from a shift in the structure of the economy to more energy-intensive industries and from a decline in the rate of technical innovation. The measures taken since 2003 have been directed principally at energy-intensive industries, but have also addressed other sectors of the economy. Though the energy intensity target for the year 2010 may be achieved, greater efforts will be needed to address a number of constraints which include: the reluctance to use economic and financial instruments; the dependency of energy policy on industrial and social policies; the nature of political decision-making and of public administration; a shortage of skills; and social attitudes to energy.
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