The world’s largest energy consumer and producer as well as the top oil importer and carbon dioxide emitter,
the People’s Republic of China is in the centre of the global energy landscape – and at a turning point towards a
low-carbon future. There is an increasingly clear congruence of China’s domestic interests and the world’s
collective interests in terms of energy security, economic development and sustainable growth. In global energy
governance, the country is gradually transforming from outsider to insider and from follower to influencer, with
instrumental implications for the country and the world. This book provides a historical perspective on China’s
approach to global energy governance and highlights how greater positive and constructive Chinese
engagement can be a step towards a better energy future for all.
Since the start of the economic reform process in the 70s China has been able to generate a large volume of investment, both from domestic and foreign sources. This high volume of investment was instrumental in sustaining strong economic growth and related improvements in living standards. However, this growth model is not longer sustainable. Returns on investment have fallen, excessive capacity is plaguing several sectors and the negative externalities have been very onerous, notably in terms of environmental degradation and rising income inequality. A key objective of the Chinese government is therefore to move the economy towards a more balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth path as envisaged by the 13th Five-Year Plan. In this adjustment process, the country is seeking new approaches for smarter, greener and more productive investment. This will require mutually reinforcing reforms to improve investment planning, rebalance the role of government and market forces, mainstream responsible business conduct and encourage greater private investment, especially in green infrastructure. China’s growing role as an outward investor may act as catalyser for the required reforms at home, as Chinese private and state-owned enterprises have to adopt internationally recognised practices and standards .
The State continues to remain an important shareholder in listed companies worldwide, especially among emerging economies, which rely increasingly on mixed-ownership models. With the benefit of hindsight and more recent examples, this book provides fresh perspectives on the motivation to list state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and the process it entails. Drawing from the experiences of five economies (People's Republic of China, India, New Zealand, Poland and Turkey), the book concludes that broadened ownership generally has a positive impact on the governance and performance of these companies. However, country practices show that the act of listing cannot guarantee that these companies are completely averse to State interests; and deviations from sound corporate governance practices, as enshrined in the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of SOEs, can in some cases, raise concerns with regards to non-State shareholder rights, commercial orientation, board independence, conflicting State objectives, transparency, disclosure and more.
Growing innovation capacity among emerging markets and increasing investment flows between them are creating new, reciprocal opportunities through the deployment of technological innovations and knowledge transfer. The case of Brazil and China is particularly relevant in this context. Between 2005 and 2012, the Brazilian energy sector absorbed USD 18.3 billion worth of investments from China. Sino-Brazilian trade and political relations have intensified over the past decade.
This report focuses on three main questions: What are the drivers behind Chinese investment in the Brazilian energy sector? What potential exists for inter-firm technology transfer between the Chinese and Brazilian companies involved? Do government-sponsored activities and academic exchanges complement inter-firm technology transfer? The analysis highlights the potential of energy technology co-operation between Brazil and China, the deployment of innovations in third countries and, more generally, the intensification of global co-operation in
Chinese NOCs first ventured overseas to invest in oil and gas production more than 20 years ago. Today, they have emerged to become international players with activities spreading across more than 40 countries and producing 2.5 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (mboe/d) of oil and gas outside of China. Chinese companies have contributed much-needed investments in global oil and gas production.
This report provides an update on overseas activity by China’s National Oil Companies (NOCs) between 2011 and 2013 and is a follow-up publication of IEA’s previous report in 2011, Overseas Investments by Chinese National Oil Companies: Assessing the Drivers and Impacts. It aims to examine the trends exhibited by investments made by Chinese NOCs and the risks and challenges they face today and raised the question if China’s long standing non-interference foreign policy could still be valid given China’s worldwide commercial interests, including those of the NOCs’.
Coal is the principal fuel for the generation of electrical power globally. It is the leading source of power generation in OECD countries and the dominant fuel source behind economic growth in non-OECD countries. However, while providing over 40% of the world’s electricity, it is responsible for more than 70% of the CO2 arising from electricity generation.
The IEA carried out a project to examine the potential to improve the performance of existing coal-fired plants. Two power units in China were selected to showcase measures that would improve their net efficiency. The results built on the efficiency gains made under China’s national energy efficiency improvement programme and demonstrated the enormous potential to improve performance, with each percentage point increase capable of reducing CO2 emissions by many millions of tonnes over a unit’s operational lifetime. Experiences learned in China can be applied to improving coal-fired power plant efficiency worldwide.
China will play a positive role in the global development of gas, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Executive Director, Maria Van der Hoeven has said in Beijing on 11 September, 2012 when launching a new IEA report: Gas Pricing and Regulation, China’s challenges and IEA experiences.
In line with its aim to meet growing energy demand while shifting away from coal, China has set an ambitious goal of doubling its use of natural gas from 2011 levels by 2015. Prospects are good for significant new supplies – both domestic and imported, conventional and unconventional – to come online in the medium-term, but notable challenges remain, particularly concerning gas pricing and the institutional and regulatory landscape.
While China’s circumstances are, in many respects unique, some current issues are similar to those a number of IEA countries have faced. This report highlights some key challenges China faces in its transition to greater reliance on natural gas, then explores in detail relevant experiences from IEA countries, particularly in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States as well as the European Union (EU). Preliminary suggestions about how lessons learned in other countries could be applied to China’s situation are offered as well.
The aim of this report is to provide stakeholders in China with a useful reference as they consider decisions about the evolution of the gas sector in their country.
The report is funded by the UK Strategic Programme Fund programme , and the EU delegation in Beijing and the World Bank have provided in-kind contributions. The project is supported by the Chinese government and co-implemented by China 5E.
Specific country notes have been prepared using data from the database OECD Health Statistics 2015, July 2015 version. The notes are available in PDF format.
Taxation is a key tool by which governments can influence energy use to contain its environmental impacts. This report provides a systematic analysis of the structure and level of energy taxes in OECD and selected other countries, including China; together, they cover 80% of global energy use.
China needs a new model of urbanisation to match the shift to a new model of growth. For decades, both urbanisation and growth have been based on robust export demand, cheap labour, cheap land and artificially low pricing of environmental externalities. None of these can support growth or urban development in the future. This review examines the major challenges associated with the shift to a new model of urbanisation, looking at a range such issues as social and labour-market policies, land use and transport planning, urban planning, urban governance and public finance. The review presents a new assessment of China’s major cities, which defines functional urban areas based on settlement patterns and commuting zones rather than cities defined as administrative units. The results show, among other things, that China has many more mega-cities, with populations above 10 million, than the official data suggest. The good news for China is that the reforms needed to foster what the authorities call “people-centred urbanisation”, while complex, are coherent with one another and supportive of the broader shift to a growth model that relies more on domestic demand and productivity growth.