|Early China coal mine|
China is taking giant strides to reduce its need for coal to generate energy by exploiting its vast shale gas reserves:
Although serious obstacles remain, China is finally making progress on tapping its vast shale gas reserves, which hold the promise of a new source of clean energy for the coal smoke-choked country.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, China holds the world’s largest reserves of technically recoverable shale gas in the world, 1,115 trillion cubic feet. That’s about 68 percent more than what the U.S. holds.
But it has thus far been unable to unlock those reserves for a couple of reasons. First, it has taken time for Chinese oil and gas companies to acquire shale drilling expertise. And second, China’s shale is geologically different than what’s found in the U.S., which means China can’t easily use existing technology.
China’s stepped up use of natural gas as an energy source is not to be sneezed at:
By 2017, China is aiming to lift natural gas consumption to 9 percent of total energy demand, up from 5.2 percent in 2013. China has already made some progress on that front, as natural gas only made up 4 percent of energy demand just two years ago ... China has long been a voracious consumer of all commodities – except, notably, natural gas – so it could be on the verge of charting a future path that relies very heavily on natural gas.
And of all energy producers, China, the outsourcing manufacturing hub of the developed nations, produces most of its energy from coal, as this diagram shows:
Way to go, China! The future of our civilizations might well depend on your efforts to shift away from coal.