Friday, January 27, 2006

China will beat us without an energy policy...

And no, I don't mean drilling in Alaska or nonsense like that; I mean kicking the oil habit for good.

China's doing it:

CHINA will develop comprehensive energy legislation to encourage technological innovation, resource efficiency and improved safety at coal mines and other production facilities as it faces up to the challenge of fueling the country's rapid economic growth.

"China lacks an overall law outlining its energy strategy and policy," the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement on its Website. "The country needs a comprehensive law to regulate the energy sector."

Ma Kai, director of the top planning agency and the national energy office, will lead the team charged with developing the legislation. A timetable for completion was not announced.

The group is composed of representatives from 15 governmental bodies, including China's state planning agencies and its finance, commerce and science and technology ministries.

Experts on energy, the law, economics and public administration will be tapped to consult with the team.

Industry analysts said the new law will serve as a constitution for the energy sector, with energy-efficiency, production safety, clean energy and diversified fuel sources as its main components.

Li Zhipeng, a Xiangcai Securities Co analyst, said the plan should help China achieve a healthy and stable energy sector to drive its economic momentum.

China's energy industry now faces significant challenges, including its growing reliance on imported oil, coal mine accidents and high energy consumption, he said.

Coal is China's main fuel source, accounting for 75 percent of total energy use.

Rising coal demand has caused some private miners to violate safety rules to boost production and has led to thousands of deaths in mine accidents.

China's oil imports have increased since 1993, when the country became a net oil importer. At present, 40 percent of the nation's oil demand is met by imports.

The country's bill for crude oil imports rose 41 percent to US$47.72 billion last year due to price increases in the international market. China intends to boost the development of nuclear power, renewable energy and water power over the long term.

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