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Why Did the Energy Intensity Fall in China's Industrial Sector in the 1990s? The Relative Importance of Structural Change and Intensity Change (wp)

by ZhongXiang Zhang

East-West Center Working Papers, Environmental Change, Vulnerability, and Governance Series, No. 55

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: January 2003
Binding: paper
Pages: 19
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There have been a variety of studies investigating the relative importance of structural change and real intensity change to the change in China’s energy consumption in the 1980s. However, no detailed analysis to date has been done to examine whether or not the increased energy efficiency trend in the 1980s still prevailed in the 1990s. This article has filled this gap by investigating the change in energy consumption in China’s industrial sector in the 1990s, based on the data sets of value added and end-use energy consumption for the 29 industrial subsectors and using the newly proposed decomposition method of giving no residual. Our results clearly show that the overwhelming contributor to the decline in industrial energy use in the 1990s was the decline in real energy intensity, indicating that the trend of real energy intensity declines in the 1980s at the 2-digit level was still maintained in the 1990s. This conclusion still holds even if we lower the growth rate dramatically in line with the belief that the growth rate of China’s GDP may be overestimated.