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For China, the world's most populous nation, it is important to find a balance between the ever-increasing demand for energy and the conservation of energy resources and protection of environment.
The second white paper on energy published on Thursday outlines the country's energy saving achievements and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the past five years and clarifies the nation's energy policy for the coming years.
The energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product dropped by 20.7 percent from 2006 to 2011, and by eliminating small thermal power stations with a total generating capacity of 80 million kilowatts, the coal consumption per kilowatt hour decreased 10 percent by 2011 from the 2006 level.
Yet despite such achievements, the country's energy consumption per unit of GDP is still much higher than that of developed countries. Even if China's energy efficiency catches up with that of its developed counterparts in the near future, the total amount of energy it consumes will continue to rise.
Sacrificing economic growth for the conservation of energy is unrealistic because China is still in the process of industrialization and urbanization and it still needs to improve people's living standards, so its energy needs will continue to increase in the future.
This necessitates a high-tech path for the country that improves energy efficiency and reduces the consumption of resources and environmental pollution.
Vigorously developing new and renewable energy is essential not only for the country's sustainable development, but also to increase environmental protection and to address climate change.
That means the country must press ahead with its plans for nuclear power generation and actively develop its hydro, solar and wind power generating capabilities.
Over the next three years, the country aims to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to 11.4 percent and increase that of installed generating capacity from non-fossil fuels to 30 percent.
As the white paper says, the achievements China has made in developing its energy industry have been aided by the friendly cooperation it has received from other countries. It needs more support to enable it to transform its energy production and utilization modes, so it can make bigger contributions to global sustainable energy development and the fight against climate change.
(China Daily 10/25/2012 page8)