China’s New National Energy Commission: Policy Implications

Abstract On 27 January 2010, China announced the establishment of a new institution under the State Council—the National Energy Commission. The institution is like a cabinet within the Cabinet. Premier Wen Jiabao is chairman, Vice Premier Li Keqiang is vice chairman, and a number of leaders from relevant ministries and commissions as well as the military are members. China had a National Energy Commission three decades ago, headed by two vice premiers. The two institutions, however, are not comparable. The old institution was a stand-alone ministry, with a rank of vice premier, while the new institution is a mini-cabinet by itself. The National Energy Commission is housed in the State Council. Out of 27 ministers, 12 are on board in the newly established National Energy Commission. Most notably, ministers of Foreign Affairs, State Security, Finance, Environmental Protection, Commerce, Land and Resources, and Water Resources are among the 21 members. Moreover, the military is also represented. The establishment of such a super-ministry at this time reflects Chinese leaders’ concern for energy efficiency, energy security, and environmental protection. By establishing this super-ministry, China’s leadership attempts to better coordinate energy policy in order to get intra-agency cooperation on strategic initiatives on carbon emission reduction and energy efficiency improvement. The National Energy Commission is tasked to produce China’s energy development strategy, review issues of energy security and development, and coordinate domestic energy exploration and international energy cooperation.
Date 2010 02 05
Author Bo Zhiyue
Publisher East Asian Institute
Series EAI Background Brief No. 504
1.1.3 International and Foreign Think-tanks, Research Institutes, NGOs and Individual Researchers