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Global food projections to Rozelle, S. Stagnation without equity: changing patterns of income and inequality in China's post-reform rural economy. The Role of Coal Although China's urban population is staggering, officially it is only 29 percent of the nation's total of 1. Many Chinese citizens heat and cook with coal and firewood, as did many rural families in the United States 50 years ago, and almost 20 percent of the population lives in areas with no access to the electricity grid.click
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China today is experiencing migration to urban areas on a scale unprecedented in human history. The strain on resources is correspondingly large. Coal is the cooking and heating fuel for many urban dwellers, though this is a situation the government would like to reverse. A goal of the current 5-year plan is to provide natural-gas access to 70 percent of urban households by the turn of the century.
Given the pace of urbanization, developing adequate gas resources and bringing them to this market will be no small feat. The use of coal in homes, industry, and power plants produces significant amounts of pollution, which in turn creates economic, environmental, and health problems on a large scale. Like Americans who lived with these problems in the s and s, when I grew up, the Chinese are intent on balancing their growing need for energy with the economic, health, and social costs of increased energy use.
UNLEASHING THE PEOPLE
Resources earmarked to address environmental and health concerns are limited, and only recently has there been information that quantifies the harmful impacts of China's extensive use of coal - in both human and economic terms. Finding a satisfactory balance of priorities will be paramount for a nation that will soon become the largest energy consumer in the world. China, though a large country, lacks the resource richness and diversity of the United States; this is particularly true of its energy resources.
China is currently the world's second-largest energy consumer, though on a per-capita basis, energy use is about one-tenth that of the United States Energy Information Administration, In some areas, such as the use of gasoline and electric power, the per-capita differences are even more extreme. China is currently the world's second-largest emitter of carbon Energy Information Administration, and, by most estimates, the nation's total carbon emissions will likely surpass those of the United States by Yet, for all the attention given to the growth of carbon emissions from China, scant attention has been paid to the recent impressive increases in Chinese energy efficiency.
During China's eighth 5-year plan , official statistics placed average GDP growth at 12 percent. The rate of growth of energy demand was half the rate of growth of GDP over the same period i. Much of the efficiency gains on the demand side can be attributed to the rapid development of non-state-owned enterprises and the rise of the service sector, in which energy intensity is comparatively low. On the supply side, government policies encouraged the rapid growth of electric power sector, whose generating capacity increased by Such an increase in energy supply did not come cheaply, however.