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Norfolk State University

Publication Date

Spring 2007

Program Name

China: Yunnan Province—Language and Cultures


"Recently released figures showing crude oil imports soaring by nearly 40% in the first five months of the year as China needs more oil to fuel its explosive economic growth..." says one article from the BBC. According to the internationally renowned news agency "...stockpile coal has plunged to lowest levels in 20 years...” China is not alone in its battle with depleting natural resources. The entire international community has placed alternative energy research as a primary objective. Though the economic powerhouse has enjoyed an over 9% GDP growth rate for a better part of the last decade, environmental experts wonder at what cost China continues to grow. As the country continues to prosper, nationwide energy consumption rises. In the last decade China has emerged as a significant importer of oil, surpassing Japan as the second greatest oil importer behind the United States. According to the Foreign Policy Association China produces 3.6 million barrels of crude oil per day. As the international community’s supply of crude oil continues to deplete at alarming rates, many countries may find themselves at the mercy of the eleven OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) nations. The Baker Institute estimates that without increases in alternative forms of energy, by 2020 China along with other South-East Asian countries will be heavily dependent on Russia for energy imports. These kind of projections place enormous pressure on the Central Government to find varying means of supporting its growth. Whether through wind, solar, wave, nuclear or hydroelectric power, China is experimenting with alternative energy forms to find which form is most efficient. One form, hydroelectric power, has proved to be a very promising option for the future. Yet a very heated debate has developed surrounding China‘s use of hydroelectricity。 By examining this debate from different angles while trying to understand how China might solve its national energy concerns, I will use past and present data to expose the real issue facing this rising global power.


Environmental Sciences


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