Waiting for Godot? China's Search for Shale Gas and Clean Coal Technologies
18 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2014
Date Written: 2014
China’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) envisages that shale gas and coal will be central to its energy future. However, for China to meet the energy security and climate change objectives set out in its 12th Five-Year Plan it will be reliant on the widespread commercial deployment of two key technologies; hydraulic fracturing combined with horizontal drilling for shale gas and carbon capture and storage (CCS) for coal. China is moving to acquire these technologies through technology transfer and diffusion from the US, but progress has been slow and neither is currently available in China at a commercial scale. Drawing on interviews in the US and China, we argue that China’s expectation of technology from the US may well be disappointed because of factors unique to the US institutional environment that have made the development of fracking technology possible and hinder the development of CCS technology at a commercial scale. As a result, Chinese policymakers would be well-advised not to count on these technologies to meet their energy and climate goals.
Keywords: China, climate change, clean coal (CCS), shale gas, technology diffusion
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