Seeking out international partners – Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao continued his visit to three Arab countries, with energy cooperation a clear target.
According to Chinese Customs data, one fourth of China’s crude oil is imported from the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is China’s top oil supplier, while Qatar is its largest supplier of liquefied natural gas. Energy expert Zhou Dadi believes that this trip has its sights set on the future.
Zhou Dadi, director general of Energy Research Institute, said, "That means we are not only working with gulf countries for fossil fuel supply, but also to diversify energy resources, especially to promote the use of high efficiency energy technology."
Chinese energy companies are reaching out for new realms of cooperation, a gesture that corresponds with the country’s determination to overhaul its energy structure.
An earlier White Paper put forward legally binding targets for the next five years. These include a 17% cut in carbon emissions, a 16 percent decrease in energy use per unit of GDP, and a goal of lifting non-fossil-fuel energy usage from its current level of 8.6 percent, to 11.4 percent of total energy consumption.
But with coal still dominating 70 percent of the current energy structure, this is not an easy target. Meeting the challenges head-on, China introduced a series of regulatory and financial incentives to deliver its promise.
They include shutting down highly-polluting steel and iron plants, establishing a monitoring and evaluation system on energy conservation, and investing more in strategic industries –solar power, wind energy and electric vehicles.
The results are patent. Despite its fast growing economy, China managed to achieve a 19 percent cut in energy use per unit of GDP in 2010 compared with 2005 levels, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by around 1.5 billion tons.
With various measures put in place, China has showed the world its commitment for a sustainable future. And the efforts will not stop here. By 2015, China aims to forge a competitive renewable energy sector, with the development of wind power, solar energy, and biomass reaching a new height. This will be a crucial step to overhaul the country’s energy structure.