Madsen Pirie....on a similar thing...
"The Chinese economy is powering ahead so fast now that it is outstripping energy supplies. Power cuts and brownouts are routine, and in Beijing 6,000 factories were recently closed for a week and some government employees sent on holiday. Energy demand is racing ahead at 15% per year, three times the official estimate.
In a fact-packed piece in today's (London) Times, Rosemary Righter points out that it is the energy needs of China's economy which are driving the long-term oil prices, rather than concerns about Iraq and Yukos. She quotes the Chinese Academy of Engineering's estimate that in the next 20 years China will need as much extra power from all sources as the US developed in the past half century. China's present shortfall is put at 30-35 gigawatts, or about 80% of what the UK generates in a year, and they are building 130 gigawatts of new capacity.
It is Chinese economic expansion which is filling the sea-lanes with freighters and sucking in the raw materials from primary producers all over the world. The world will have to adjust to the knowledge that China is now one of the main engines driving the world economy.
Since they embraced the principles of private ownership and economic enterprise, first in agriculture then in industry, China has provided a lesson in economic development. A country of 1.3bn, about one-fifth of the world's population, is on its way to become rich. It in an awesome spectacle, and will have profound consequences. China may become rich enough fast enough to afford the cleaner environment which rich nations can afford, but there will be harmful environmental impact on the way.
The demands of its booming economy will keep upward pressure on the prices of energy and raw materials, which bodes well for the Russian economy and those of some South American countries as well as for its own. And China's surge towards wealth will help to lift more of the world's people out of poverty, and to achieve a more equal distribution of world incomes."