The Greening of the Middle Kingdom: The Story of Energy Efficiency in China

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In 2006, the energy intensity of the Chinese economy decreased by 1.7 percent, the first decrease in this measure since 2001 (Zhou et al., 2009). Although this was a significant achievement, the reduction was well below the trajectory needed to achieve the goal of a 20-percent reduction in energy intensity by 2010. In 2007, however, energy intensity declined by3.7 percent, and in 2008, it was reduced by 4.6 percent (Zhou et al., 2009). In the first quarter of 2009, preliminary data indicate an even greater reduction (China View, 2009). Although the impact of the world economic crisis on energy intensity in China is difficult to predict, it now appears that China is likely to meet its 20-percent energy-intensity reduction target for 2010. Such savings represents a decrease of 1.5 billion metric tons of CO2 (Lin et al., 2007), a very large number by any measure.

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