China used less energy per unit of GDP in 2010

AP News
Posted: Feb 28, 2011 12:00 AM
China used less energy per unit of GDP in 2010

China's efforts to reduce energy consumption per unit of economic output were less successful in 2010 with the reduction far less than achieved in the previous year.

The National Bureau of Statistics said Monday that energy intensity _ energy use per unit of gross domestic product _ fell 4 percent last year from 2009.

The bureau released the figure in an annual report of economic statistics posted on its website. It said the percentage decline was measured in terms of energy use per 10,000 yuan ($1,520) of GDP, but gave no specific figure.

The report nonetheless noted strong absolute increases for most types of energy used, with the combined total at 3.25 billion tons of coal equivalent, up 5.9 percent from the year before.

Coal consumption, which accounts for about three-quarters of China's electricity generation, rose 5.3 percent, oil use climbed 12.9 percent, natural gas use jumped 18.2 percent and electricity consumption surged 13.1 percent, the report said without providing breakdowns for each category.

China earlier declared victory in meeting a five-year target of improving energy efficiency by 20 percent, though it did so by cutting power to industry and imposing rolling blackouts, after a massive economic stimulus program boosted energy use.

The improvement in 2010 was markedly lower than the 14.4 percent decline in energy intensity in 2009.

Meeting energy efficiency targets is part of China's pledge to help fight global warming.

The country has surpassed the United States as the world's largest producer of greenhouse gases amid an industrial boom that has relied on labor- and energy-intensive growth. China's consumers are increasingly adopting more modern lifestyles, buying their own cars and relying on air conditioners and other electrical conveniences.

To counter those trends, the government has ordered about 2,000 energy-inefficient steel and cement mills and other heavily polluting or wasteful factories to close.

Analysts say China's overall consumption of nonrenewable energy such as coal and oil will continue to climb, though the government is pushing hard to expand use of alternatives such as wind, nuclear and solar energy.

The government's outline for growth in the coming five years will likely call for an energy efficiency improvement of around 17 percent, experts say.