How sustainable is China’s future energy demand?

A new report by S&P Global’s China Senior Analyst Group*, entitled “China’s Sustainable Energy Future Depends on Efficiency, Economic Transition, And Renewables — Not Slower GDP Growth” finds that China will need to take a radically different path of energy consumption from what developed nations currently follow in order to avoid a spiking oil import bill. Eight years ago China overtook the US to become the world’s largest market for new vehicle sales, and by the end of this year is set to once again overtake the US to become the world’s largest importer of oil. However, what is not immediately  apparent  from these headlines is how modest China’s oil demand actually is on a per capita basis, as the chart below demonstrates, with Chinese per capita GDP on the X axis (in real 2010 US dollars) and per capita oil demand on the Y axis. Historically per capita oil demand rises as countries develop (as represented in the chart by per capita GDP) until around $20,000 – 30,000 per capita oil demand, when it peaks and then declines. Chinese per capita demand is currently around half that of Malaysia and Korea at similar stages of economic development. If China was to

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Source: CTRM Center

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