With the deterioration of global warming and the greenhouse effect, clean energy is the priority on the agenda of countries all over the world. This was highlighted when U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited their Chinese counterparts on July 14-17. As a big economy, China has no reason to escape challenges or to shirk its responsibilities in this respect.
In China's energy composition, coal takes center stage, with clean energy making up only a small proportion. The current energy structure shows that coal accounts for 69 percent, petroleum 18 percent and natural gas 2 percent, while hydropower, wind power and nuclear power only add up to 7 percent.
When it comes to carbon dioxide emissions reduction, the biggest challenge comes from the extensive use of coal in power generation. Nowadays, about 80 percent of the power the country demands is supplied by thermal power plants. The over-dependence on coal is a major reason for serious air pollution in some parts of China.
According to experts, sustained and rapid economic growth will push up the demand for steel, cement, electric power and other kinds of energy. It is predicted that by 2030, 80 percent of the crude oil that China needs will have to be imported. The total amount of imported crude oil will account for around 13 percent of the world's total production.
To optimize the energy consumption structure and lessen China's dependence on petroleum and coal, it is necessary to develop and utilize future-oriented clean energy and encourage efforts to tap natural gas, nuclear power and other new energy sources.
This is the viable strategic choice for China's sustainable development and will benefit China's energy conservation and carbon dioxide emissions reduction.
It is true that the high cost of new energy has hindered its development and the Chinese Government has always been committed to realizing its goal of energy conservation and greenhouse gas emissions reduction.
The National Program for Middle- and Long-term Scientific and Technological Development published by the Chinese Government in 2006 says that solar, wind, nuclear and biological energy will be the important means for China to push forward the diversification of its energy structure.
Backed up by this policy, it is firmly believed that the development and utilization of clean energy in China is on track for both the country's and the world's future benefit.