The Sydney Morning Herald, February 6, 2013
By John Garnaut
China’s decade-long boom in coal-driven heavy industry is about to end as the leadership shifts priorities towards energy conservation, say officials and policy advisers.
The advisers predict China’s coal consumption will peak at only a fraction above current levels after the State Council, or cabinet, last week set an ambitious new total energy use target for the five-year plan ending 2015.
“Coal consumption will peak below 4 billion tonnes,” Jiang Kejun, who led the modelling team that advised the State Council on energy use scenarios, told Fairfax Media.
“It’s time to make change,” said Dr Jiang, who is director of the Energy Research Institute under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). “There’s no market for further development of energy-intensive industry.”
The imminent stabilisation of coal usage, if broadly achieved, would mark a stunning turn-around for a nation that is estimated to have burned 3.9 billion tonnes last year, which is nearly as much as the rest of the world combined.