Risks for China’s energy strategy

A woman passes by coal-fired thermal power plant cooling towers in Shenyang, China.
A woman passes by a coal-fired power plant in Shenyang, China. The country’s reliance on coal means some 30% of city dwellers breathe highly polluted air (source: dpa)
  • Pollution, climate change and insecure maritime trade routes pose challenges for China’s energy policy
  • Reducing hydrocarbon consumption will be aided by economic slowdown and population decline
  • New technologies will make the energy system more efficient
  • New pipelines from Central Asia are likely to be built

In the last decade, China has made huge investments to secure reliable, cleaner energy. Its leaders have announced ambitious plans to meet the demands of an urbanizing population and minimize the negative impacts of fossil fuel consumption. Beijing is also keen to secure overland sources of imported hydrocarbons to reduce its dependence on energy imported via dangerous and disputed maritime routes. In the long run, China will probably meet its goals, due to advancing technology, a slowing economy and geopolitical alignment with its energy-rich neighbors.

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