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Dilemmas for China: Energy, Economy and Environment

School of Business Administration, China University of Petroleum, Beijing 102249, China
Graduate School of Energy Science, Kyoto University, Yoshida-honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan
Management School, University of Liverpool, L69 7ZH Liverpool, UK
Global Energy Systems, Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Sustainability 2015, 7(5), 5508-5520;
Received: 8 February 2015 / Revised: 23 April 2015 / Accepted: 28 April 2015 / Published: 6 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
PDF [676 KB, uploaded 6 May 2015]


China’s current national policies promote high levels of economic growth, transforming China into a “world factory”, but at a high cost in terms of energy and the environment. At the same time, this growth and transformation also forms the backbone of China’s economy, underpinning social stability. China faces a dilemma to reconcile its economy, energy system and environmental security. Each aspect of this triad is discussed in this study to illuminate the challenges faced by China, and China’s dilemma in energy, economy and environment is analyzed from the perspective of its participation in current global supply chains. While China must import a significant proportion of its energy and a large proportion of primary materials, a large share of these imports are returned to the global market as industrial exports. China is bound by its own course of action and unable to radically change its position for the foreseeable future as the road to economic development and employment stability is through policies built on exports and shifting development models, presenting a tough socio-economic trade-off. China’s growth challenges are discussed as an example of challenges more broadly faced in the developing world. China’s success or failure in achieving a sustainable developmental pattern will inevitably have a significant influence on the global environment. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy-economy-environment; energy security; Chinese economy; embodied energy; international trade energy-economy-environment; energy security; Chinese economy; embodied energy; international trade
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tang, X.; McLellan, B.C.; Snowden, S.; Zhang, B.; Höök, M. Dilemmas for China: Energy, Economy and Environment. Sustainability 2015, 7, 5508-5520.

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