China is the second-largest user of energy (after the United States) and in 2003 passed Japan as second-largest user of oil; current consumption is about 350 million tonnes per year.
Since 1933 China has been a net importer of oil and it is
growing so dependent that it has become a major player in the
world oil market. Despite attempts to use dispersed energy
sources (including Russia, Venezuela, Canada and Nigeria),
almost half imported oil comes from the Middle East and 30% from
Coal accounts for 65% of China's energy consumption, making it the largest producer and consumer in the world (34.4%). In the long term, the increase in coal consumption is expected to continue, although the proportion of Chinese energy needs represented by coal will diminish thanks to technological improvements and the increase in the use of natural gas, for which an agreement to build a pipeline from Siberia was recently signed with Russia.
NL: Energy savings in supermarket
Dutch environmental services started a large-scale survey of energy use in supermarkets in 2005. The inventory shows that supermarkets use a lot of energy (think refrigerator and freezer cabinets, as well as lighting). The environmental services want to limit energy use in supermarkets by imposing new requirements, such as covers for cabinets, high-yield lighting, and timers. Supermarkets think it is not the business of environmental services to impose new requirements on them.
Several environmental services have already published regulations making energy-saving measures that can be amortised over five years obligatory. One of these is the requirement for covers on refrigerators and freezers. The supermarkets do not like this; they fear a loss in sales, because a cover changes the presentation of products.
Moreover, the supermarkets believe that such covers will take longer than five years to pay for themselves. The environmental services wrongly excluded from their calculations many supplementary costs such as cleaning and maintenance, say the companies.
The results of various reports on payback time for covers contradict each other. There is no consensus on the additional costs which should or should not be included in the calculation of ROI. For example it is not impossible that if vertical cabinets have doors, aisles will need to be widened. Should this lost retail space count in the calculation of ROI? Moreover, hygiene requires these covers or doors to be cleaned regularly. Should these cleaning costs be included? No-one has yet had the last word; it will no doubt fall to magistrates to make a decision.
It is not unusual for professional federations to sign collective agreements on energy-saving measures. For example the federation of supermarkets, represented by the central office of food sales (CBL) have signed an agreement with the finance ministry. The objective is that by 2010 supermarkets will have improved energy efficiency by 32% compared to 1995, and that 5% of energy will be supplied from renewable sources.
There is an apparent contradiction
between the actions of the environmental services and this
agreement – it is precisely to avoid this type of action by
individual environmental services that the supermarkets signed
the agreement with the ministry.
(Milieu Magazine, Netherlands, www.milieumagazine.nl)
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