After a decade of high growth led to China becoming the
worlds biggest energy consumer, International Energy
Agency (IEA) Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka says that closer
alignment of the country with the IEA would be of mutual
benefit. In a recent speech, the director outlined five key
reasons why increased cooperation with the IEA would be a good
move for China. He also said that for the IEA to continue
playing an effective role in the global market, it is important
to involve major emerging economies like China.
| IEA Executive Director
Tanaka spoke about the IEAs
desired relationship with China
during the Global Think Tank Summit.
Chinas rise is not only a case of up, but also
in, Mr. Tanaka said. China has risen into
international markets, into political frameworks which guide
those markets, into joint mechanisms for managing crises, and
perhaps one day, into the IEA as a global energy governance
Mr. Tanaka spoke at the second Global Think Tank Summit on
June 25, two days after the IEA announced that its member
countries had agreed to release 60 million bbl of oil in the
coming month in response to the ongoing disruption of oil
supplies from Libya. Among those attending the summit in
Beijing, China, were Chinas Deputy Premier Li Keqiang and
former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who played a key
role in the founding of the IEA in 1974.
Mr. Tanaka shared IEA analysis regarding Chinas future
importance to the global energy market over the next few
decades. Chinas electricity demand is projected to almost triple from 2008
to 2035. While oil imports are expected to jump from 4.3
million bpd in 2009 to 12.8 million bpd in 2035 (representing
all of current Saudi Arabian and Mexican production combined),
natural gas imports are expected to increase to account for 53%
of Chinese gas demand in 2035.
On top of this, Chinas net imports of coal are projected to increase to the year
2015, but depending on what government policies are
implemented, China could become either a net exporter by 2035,
or could possibly import the equivalent of all of todays
internationally traded coal.
Mr. Tanaka stressed that the IEA respects the sovereign
decisions of all of its partners, and that deepening ties with
non-member countries is a long, complex and sometimes slow
But the IEA also recognizes the imperative to bring
major emerging economies [like China] into its fold if
credibility to act in the name of the global marketsuch
as last weeks stock releaseis to be
maintained, he added.
Reasons for closer cooperation.
Mr. Tanaka cited five reasons why closer cooperation with
the IEA would be beneficial for China:
1. Enhanced energy security through support from IEA
partners as well as coordination during major disruptions in
the supply of oil
2. Participation in a community that is influential in
shaping future energy security and sustainability on a global level
3. Participation in open discussions relating to technology policy and better access to
state-of-the-art technologies themselves
4. The opportunity to learn and benefit from best
practices of other countries in areas such as statistics or
5. The chance to demonstrate to the world that China is
reaching the point of development where it can confidently
engage along-side other developed economies in areas of global
Mr. Tanaka noted that Chinas recent evolution
represents a transformation of the global energy economy.
At the IEA, we are proud to be able to embrace such
change, but urge the new major emerging economies like China to
assume their role as equal partners in global energy
governance, he said. Together we can ensure that
the transition to a secure, affordable and sustainable energy
future is a harmonious one.
The full speech from the IEAs executive director can
be found at the IEA website (www.iea.org).