China - An Energy Timebomb?
According to John Constable, senior UK economist for Exxon Mobil, China with a population of 1.3 billion people currently uses the energy equivalent of one 100 watt lightbulb per person per year.
"World energy demand is continuing to grow by 3% per annum, so by 2020 it will be up by over 40%. Most of this growth will be in China."
A chief executive of a Scottish engineering firm tells the following anecdote:
“When I first started coming out to China, there were four items most people aspired to: a bicycle, a small transistor radio, a wristwatch and a foot-powered sewing machine. Now, in many urban areas, the middle-class Chinese own their apartments, have a car, a colour television, DVDs and even go on foreign holidays.”
The Chinese government's planning agency has set the target of 900,000MW by 2020.
That’s a tripling of energy generation over 15 years.
Meanwhile the Financial Times reports that China plans to build the equivalent of the UK's total electricity- generating capacity in each of the next two years. In recent months, the voracious demand for energy has caused blackouts in cities and factories across the country.
Chinese environmentalist Liang Congjie's opinion is “if each Chinese family has two cars like US families, then the cars needed by China, something like 600 million vehicles, will exceed all the cars in the world combined. That would be the greatest disaster for mankind.”
At the Beijing auto show a few months ago it was reported SUVs are the fastest growing segment of the Chinese auto market. GM are investing $3 billion over the next three years to double production in China. Currently there are only 16 cars and light trucks per thousand people in China, that compares to 700 per thousand in the U.S. By 2030, China is expected to have more cars than the United States and import as much oil as the U.S. does today.
In terms of oil, 40 percent of the entire growth in oil demand since the year 2000 has been China. Considering the enormous demand expansion of China's auto fleet will make on the oil we have left is it really wise to be promoting SUV sales?
The ever increasing strain China will make on world energy resources means we should do everything possible to eliminate our own reliance on fossil fuels and develop the technology for renewable alternatives which we can export worldwide.
SUVs are fastest growing segment in Chinese market:
GM expanding in China. China auto ownership expected to more than triple in 10 years: