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Business / Green China

China faces tough task in energy revolution

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-06-26 09:55

BEIJING - China faces an arduous task in attempting to revolutionize how it produces and consumes energy, experts said at a symposium in Beijing on Wednesday.

As an emerging economy experiencing rapid growth, China has to strike a balance between satisfying its huge energy demand and safeguarding the environment in order to make its growth sustainable, said Wu Yuetao, a researcher from government think tank the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

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After a decade of industrialization and growth, China is now the world's largest energy producer and consumer.

However, prosperity based on overstretched natural resources has caused a worsening environment and a heavy burden to control pollution.

If not controlled, China's energy demand will surge to 5.3 billion tons of coal equivalent in 2020 and seven billion tons in 2030, Wu has calculated.

At the same time, however, he urged that China should not restrain its economic advance in the name of cutting energy consumption.

He Jiankun, director of the Low Carbon Energy Lab under Tsinghua University, said there is an urgent need for China to reform its energy structure.

While energy requirements are flat in developed countries, they are in massive flux in China. Structural adjustment there is like changing the tires of a speeding vehicle.

Nearly 70 percent of the energy consumed in China comes from coal, a ratio much higher than in developed countries, which use cleaner resources like oil and gas.

Despite great endeavors from the central government to wean China off its reliance on coal, this most primary energy source will continue to fuel the country's economic engine, symposium delegates agreed.

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