Something to think about

There is a lot of China bashing that goes on around the world where the biggest complaint is regarding China becoming a big energy consumer. With energy consumption follows emissions, pollution and the rest.

However, is China as bad as it is really brought out to be? A quick look at the following graphs puts forth a slightly different picture.

Per Capita Energy Consumption

Exports

Imports

 The US has steadily reduced manufacturing of steel and other high energy-consumption but low value goods over the years. US imports these goods and in turn exports high value goods that are not often very energy intensive as compared to their cost of production. China is a huge exporter for goods. Naturally, China has higher energy consumption. Also, China’s imports are lesser, which strengthens this argument.

It will be a good exercise to note who the final consumer of the product is, and attribute the energy consumption to him/her. This done, it is my guess that China is not as bad as it is made out to be, but the developed economies that boast of cutting down on energy consumption aren’t as good as they claim.

There is just an offloading of both the task and the blame.

References:

1. http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=eg_use_pcap_kg_oe&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:CHN:USA&ifdim=region&tstart=-309549600000&tend=1299823200000&hl=en&dl=en&q=china+energy+consumption

2. http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=merchandise_trade_by_the_reporting_economy_current_us&fdim_y=direction_of_trade:1&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:USA:CHN&ifdim=region&tstart=-309549600000&tend=1299823200000&hl=en&dl=en&q=china+energy+consumption

3. http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=d5bncppjof8f9_&ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=merchandise_trade_by_the_reporting_economy_current_us&fdim_y=direction_of_trade:2&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=region&idim=country:USA:CHN&ifdim=region&tstart=-309549600000&tend=1299823200000&hl=en&dl=en&q=china+energy+consumption

Misc. note: This Google tool is useful to analyze data and come up with different correlations and conclusions.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Something to think about

  1. guillermo125

    It is true that the final consumers should be the ones responsible for the energy usage in the production and distribution of the products they consume. It is easer to blame the manufacturer of energy usage than the consumer. The reason is lack of information. Products do not display any information of the energy used during production or distribution. Consumers have no access to that information or any comparison between products to help them choose. Chinese manufactured products are sold in the US because of its low price. But what if besides the price, the products also display CO2 emissions or BTU used?

    There is a very small difference in electricity prices between China 0.57 yuan per kiloWatt-hour(kWh) [1] versus the USA 0.10 cents per kiloWatt-hour (kWh) [2]. The main difference is the cost of labor.

    It can be very easy to be a developing country and complain about China’s manufacturing energy impact, but at the same time being part of the consumers of their goods.

    References

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/bizchina/2012-03/13/content_14826146.htm

    http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/pdf/epm.pdf

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