The of world energy use may keep constant

The development of social economy requires
massive inputs of natural resources, especially energy, which is regarded as
the main driver of economic growth. In 2014 alone, the world primary energy
consumption ascended to approximately 13 billion tons oil equivalent,
increasing by 22% and 54% respectively compared to that in 2004 and 1994. The rapidly rising demand has accelerated the exploitation of
energy resources from the natural environment, and ultimately brought severe
challenges of energy scarcity and climate change. According to BP, the world’s
proved reserves of oil, natural gas and coal at end-2014 were expected to meet
53, 54 and 110 years of global production at most, separately. Energy
resources conservation has therefore become an urgent concern in today’s world.

Meanwhile, as energy-related greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions account for over
80% of global anthropogenic emissions, energy saving is also essential for the
mitigation of global warming.

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Owing to the huge trade volume, the energy
resources are essentially redistributed among regions. Through increasing the
imports from foreign regions, a region can gain a decline in local energy use
to meet the regional goal of energy conservation. But the total amount of world
energy use may keep constant or even increase. The substitution of local energy
exploitation through imports indeed extends the environmental burden from the
regional to the global level. Hence, regional energy regulation in isolation
can make little sense to energy conservation in this context of globalization,
and it is necessary to take the whole world into consideration. In addition,
countries’ economic development tends to be associated with a high degree of
specialization following the law of comparative advantage, and this is
particularly true for WTO (World Trade Organization) members 66,67. Lots of energy-intensive and pollution-intensive industries
are witnessed to transfer from developed countries to developing countries. The
efficient and clean technologies in the developing countries are therefore of
essential importance for the realization of the global common goal of energy
conservation and emissions reduction. Compared with the regional energy
regulation with the production-based accounting, the regulation at the global
scale in accordance with the consumption-based accounting principle can greatly
encourage developed countries to export the energy-saving and cleaner
production technologies to developing countries. Therefore, this global
overview from the energy user perspective can serve as a supplement to the
prevailing view focused on the energy producer.