Feature Reports

China and Energy

Photo of Pudong, the business district in Shanghai, China.
A road in Beijing in March 2018, engulfed in a cloud of smog. Urban pollution has prompted China to embark on a proactive energy transition. ©JOHANNES EISELE / AFP

As the biggest energy consumer and the leading greenhouse gas emitter in the world today, China faces a challenge: drive further economic growth to improve the living standards of its 1,380 million inhabitants and meet their needs, while also cutting coal pollution and containing greenhouse gas emissions.   The difficulty for China is to wean itself off coal, which will undoubtedly continue to dominate its energy mix for another two or three decades yet. At the heart of its strategy is increased use of renewable energies, natural gas and nuclear power and greater energy efficiency.     Boasting huge investment capacity and buoyed by the power of its new solar photovoltaic, wind, hydro and nuclear industries, China is an increasingly competitive player on the global markets. With the “new silk roads” initiative, under which the Chinese government aims to make massive investments in trade and transportation infrastructure around the world, China wields growing influence in Africa, Asia and Latin America.     

Chine : les grands équilibres énergétiques

Without a doubt, China has undergone the most spectacular transformation of any country in the world since the 1980s (see box below). From a closed and faltering Communist economy, it has embraced globalization, constructing ports and sprawling metropoles and emerging as the world’s biggest car market. Today, it is the second-largest global economy behind the United States and is slated to take the number one spot between 2030 and 2035. 

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Climat : les nouvelles responsabilités de la Chine

China faces a challenge: drive further growth and raise the living standards of its 1,380 million inhabitants, while also containing its energy consumption, pollution and greenhouse gas (ghg) Gas with physical properties that cause the Earth's atmosphere to warm up. There are a number of naturally occurring greenhouse gases... emissions. As the world’s second-largest economy behind the United States, it has a responsibility to ensure the planet’s sustainable future. Given its historical influence, its methods will shape growth paths in many countries in the emerging world.

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