Big Bad News? China's Oil Discovery
The China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), China's leading offshore oil producer, announced recently that it had made the nation's largest oil find in a decade. They've hit a jackpot: the new domestic source apparently has reserves of about 2.2 billion barrels. But for China, that's still just under a year's worth of black gold. Last year, the Middle Kingdom - now the world's second largest oil consumer after the US, as well as the #2 greenhouse gas emitter - imported just under 50% of its oil needs, and consumed 2.4 billion barrels. Concerns about energy security, local environmental pollution, and global warming, which is going to hit China hard, are driving an aggressive push for a sustainable energy future. The nation's leaders are emphasizing both improved energy efficiency and renewables, and they have set ambitious targets. (One such target? Quadruple national GDP by 2020, while merely doubling energy consumption from 2000 levels. China's done it before, and they aim to do it again.) But at the same time, the national authorities are also pushing state-owned oil and gas conglomerates to find new domestic sources for old energy standbys. So is this new oil discovery bad news? China needs oil to move forward - without it, the economy would grind to a crashing halt - and moving forward supposedly means moving towards an alternative energy future. In addition, there are energy security concerns. And China's concerns, as nations compete for limited supplies, are certainly not China's alone. But this discovery does take some pressure off China's planners - which ultimately might mean more greenhouse gas emissions and pressure on the planet. Big bad news? Good news? Not exactly either? This jury's still out. What do you think? Let us know in the comments! ::The Associated Press. Also see ::The Coming Decline of Oil, ::Building a Green China, ::China Leads World in Renewable Energy Investment.