China’s Goals for Going Green

Until recently, the United States was the largest consumer of energy in the world.

To put that in perspective, Americans make up only 5% of the world’s population and yet consumed 20% of the energy the last year the US was number one.

Now, China, with about 20% of the world’s population, consumes more energy than the US.

In 2010, China consumed 4,190,000,000-megawatt hours of electricity to serve 1.3 billion people, while in 2009, the US consumed 3,741,485,000-megawatt hours of electricity for 310,880,317 people. Source: Wikipedia’s List of countries by electric energy consumption

A better idea might be to compare India to China since these countries have similar sized populations. Nation Master’s energy consumption chart shows India in 6th place with 568,000,000-megawatt hours consumed, while China used more than 7 times that number.

China’s goal is to have a middle class equal to America, which may reach as high as 66% of households.

Do a little math and you soon discover how much energy China may have to produce to support a middle class of about 858 million people, which is 66% of 1.3 billion.

In fact, China may need to produce about 16 billion-megawatt hours of electricity to achieve that goal.

Along with those numbers comes another staggering headache — pollution and a potential environmental disaster of epic proportions.

However, China is struggling to deal with this challenge by going green.

The June 2011, National Geographic Magazine (NGM) asked this question — Can China Go Green? Then attempted to answer it.

NGM said, “No other country is investing so heavily in clean energy. But no other country burns as much coal to fuel its economy.”

One unidentified Beijing-based official said, “China seeks every drop of fuel—every kilowatt and every kilojoule it can get a hold of — for growth.”

“That Chinese consumer revolution has barely begun,” NGM said. “As of 2007, China had 22 cars for every 1,000 people, compared with 451 in the U.S.”

Discover more at China’s Middle Class Expanding, China’s Middle Class Defined, Copy Cat Middle Class in China and The Middle Class Bulge.


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the lusty love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

#1 - Joanna Daneman review posted June 19 2014

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7 Responses to China’s Goals for Going Green

  1. […] I learned something new from a comment left by Xiaohu Liu for a post called China’s Goals for going […]

  2. Merlin says:

    Yea, I hear some Green NGOs are starting in China building new green houses and teaching farmers new methods to increase productivity without using chemicals. Actually, I’ve been looking to hopefully find an NGO to get into contact with because I thought possibly I could work for them in exchange for food and place to crash. Possibly, I could find somebody at it that can help me fix my visa problem I’m in.

    • How about Green Peace? I’ve read they have offices in China and wrote about them here. Green Peace in China seems to have the ear of the central government in Beijing.

  3. Xiaohu Liu says:

    More likely China will go more nuclear before it goes green (the plans are in books), but hopefully green energy will definitely help.

    Here are two articles about the two types of nuclear technology that could revolutionized the world as much as the steam power or petrol power did in the 19th and 20th century.

    • Xiaohu Liu,

      Thank you. I read the Telegraph piece and will read the NY Times one later. This is the first I’ve seen on this subject. It would seem to me it should have received more attention from the media. Probably because most do not want to step on the toes of the status quo. Keep people in the dark and support big oil so big oil keeps buying those expensive public relations advertisements that feed profits for the media.

      • Xiaohu Liu says:

        Big oil and surprisingly big nuclear. Thorium technology has the promise of being super cheap and very safe and should be easily attainable with the right funding but it’s not in the interest of the nuclear companies and suppliers to fund such research. A lot of their income comes from locking in customers for lucrative and long Uranium supply contracts and since Thorium is literally as common as dirt, there is just no interest.

        Now normally this is where the government should step in for greater good and the long-term benefits of cheap energy, but our governments (Canada and the US) is too easily swayed for corporate interest and is absolutely incapable of thinking beyond the next electoral cycle.

      • One of the flaws in a democratic multi-party government such as the United States (and Canada) is the influence of lobbyists and those running for reelection in the U.S. House of reps. (every two years) and US Senate (every six years) and the need for donations to stay in the election game.

        The second flaw is how special interests use the media/Internet (under the guise of freedom of expression) to push their agenda (often telling lies or twisting the facts/truth) on an often gullible and confused public, and the agenda is either from some far out fringe political /religious group or corporations, which are mostly motivated for HIGH short term profits to make the big stock holders happy each quarter and keep the high salaries and bonuses rolling in.

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