PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (4): 522-531.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.04.004

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Evolution of China's industrial structure and regional disparities in energy consumption intensity

WANG Fei1,2, DONG Suocheng1, MAO Qiliang1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2012-06-01 Revised:2012-11-01 Online:2013-04-25 Published:2013-04-25

Abstract: To implement China's 12th Five-Year Plan for Energy Conservation and Consumption Reduction, it is necessary to analyze the factors that impact energy consumption intensity across the regions in China. Many scholars have studied the changes of China's energy consumption intensity and provincial differences. This paper aims to investigate the impact of energy-consuming characteristic of industry structure on the disparities of the regional energy consumption intensity. The paper analyzes the change tendency of the national energy consumption intensity from 1985 to 2008. It has been found that the disparities of regional energy consumption intensity are consistent with the pattern of uneven economic development. The energy consumption of the developed areas with low-intensity continues the downward trend, while in the undeveloped areas with high-intensity there is only an indistinct downward trend. By using industrial characteristic bias (ICB) index to describe the characteristic of industry energy consumption and the data of 29 manufacturing industries in the year 2008, the paper offers a quantitative analysis of the relationship between the regional energy consumption intensity and industrial structure. The results show that the regional energy consumption intensity is closely related to the industry structure which in turn is influenced by the evolving regional specialization. The industry structure of high energy consumption causes the high energy intensity of the region. In addition, the paper also employed regression analysis model to analyze the impact of energy-consuming characteristic of industry structure on the disparities of the regional energy consumption intensity. The analysis showed that the change of the regional industry structure which was brought about by the evolution of regional specialization in recent years made a significant impact on the pattern of the disparities of the energy consumption intensity in different regions of China. In recent years, the central and western regions undertook the high energy-consuming industries from the eastern region because of the resources superiority. So the industry structure of the eastern region has become biased toward lower energy-consumption, while the industry structure of the western region shows higher energy-consuming characteristic. At the end, this paper brings forward some suggestions on the energy conservation and consumption reduction policies. The government should have a correct understanding of the laws of the industrial structure evolution and economic development stages. When making the policies of saving energy and breaking down the target of consumption reduction, the government should not set definite goals but take effective measures in different regions based on the changes in the characteristics of the region's energy consumption intensity, in order to make good use of regional advantages, strengthen regional cooperation, optimize energy resource allocation and reach the target of energy conservation and consumption reduction.

Key words: China, disparity analysis, energy consumption intensity, industrial characteristic bias, industrial structure