Conference: Abrupt change in China's energy path

This event has already taken place.

Thursday 26 June 2014

The Victoria Institute of Strategic Economic Studies invite you to our public conference examining the change in China's energy path, and the implications of that change for China, Australia and the global climate.

China’s rapid industrial growth has driven the world economy and powered Australia’s resources boom. But, being based on energy from fossil fuels, it has led to heavy pollution within China and contributed two-thirds of the rise in global greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade.

When air pollution reached critical levels in many Chinese cities in 2013, the Government was finally forced to act decisively. As a result, China has embarked on an abrupt shift in its energy structure and its development path. In energy the shift is from coal and oil to renewables, gas and nuclear power; in development the shift is from heavy industry and construction to services and to a more benign urbanisation pattern.

This abrupt change in China’s energy path will have important ramifications, if it can in fact be achieved. In China, it will impact on industrial and energy firms, on the banks that support these firms and on heavily indebted local governments. More generally, it will both shape and be shaped by China’s broader reform agenda.

With massive investment in new facilities, China’s new energy path will further reduce the costs of renewable and nuclear energy technologies worldwide. It could lead to a peak in China’s greenhouse gas emissions as early as 2020, with a significant decline thereafter. This would greatly improve the prospects of holding global warming to less than 2°C.

This new direction in China will also have important implications for Australia. The key resources industries – coal, iron ore and natural gas – will be affected in different ways, as demand patterns and prices both change. It also provides a new context for changes in Australian climate policies, and for decisions to reduce support for renewable energy and carbon sequestration technologies.

This one day conference will bring together leading experts from Australia and China to document and analyse this fundamental change, to assess the extent to which the Government is likely to achieve its targets and to explore its implications within China, for global warming and for Australia.

For further information on the background of this conference, see China’s Response to the Air Pollution Shock (Nature Climate Change, May 2014), by Peter Sheehan, Enjiang Cheng, Alex English and Fanghong Sun.

See also related Report to Australia China Natural Gas Technology Partnership Fund titled The National and Regional Development of China’s Gas Market: Beyond Evolutionary Change? (by Peter Sheehan et al. 2013). Funding for this project from the Australia China Natural Gas Technology Partnership Fund is gratefully acknowledged.


Download the conference program.


Registration is free and covers the conference, lunch, morning and afternoon tea, and concluding refreshments.

Registration is essential - the number of participants at the event is limited.

RSVP your attendance to [email protected].

If you have any questions regarding the conference, please contact Margarita Kumnick by emailing [email protected] or phone +61 3 9919 1343.

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This event has already taken place.

26 June 2014, 8:30am to 6:00pm

Get in touch

Birute Prasmutas
Senior Officer, Research Facilitation & Development Support
Margarita Kumnick
Research Information Coordinator
Centre for Strategic Economic Studies
+61 3 9919 1343