The effect of increasing exports on industrial energy intensity in China
Given China's heavy reliance on fuel energy and the dominance of its industrial sector in the economy, improving energy efficiency remains one of the practical means for the country to decrease energy intensity and to fulfill its commitment made at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference to achieve a 40-45 percent reduction in CO2 emission intensity by 2020. This study investigates the impact of exports on industrial energy intensity to explore the possibility of reducing energy intensity through greater exports. A panel varying-coefficient regression model with a dataset of China's 20 industrial sub-sectors over 1999-2007 suggests that in general, greater exports aggravate energy intensity of the industrial sector and that great divergences exist in the impact of exports on energy intensity across sub-sectors. A panel threshold model further estimates the thresholds for the major determinants of energy intensity: exports, input in technological innovations, and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) intensity. Given the great differences in specific sub-sector characteristics and the changing roles played by different factors across sub-sectors, there is no general export policy that would work for all sub-sectors in reducing sub-sector energy intensity. Instead, policies and measures aiming to encourage more efficient use of energy should take into full consideration the characteristics and situations of individual sub-sectors.
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