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. The National Energy Commission is housed in the State Council, suggesting the rise of power of the government. 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. The establishment of such an institution on energy policy is certainly a step in the right direction to tackle energy security and environmental issues in China.  But it remains to be seen how this super-ministry actually operates and whether it can produce desired results.
Author EAI Background Brief No. 504; Bo Zhiyue; 5 February 2010
1 Energy and Climate, 1.1 General Energy Concerns, 1.1.3 International and Foreign Think-tanks, Research Institutes, NGOs and Individual Researchers