As more and more citizens of the P.R. of China are enjoying better access to modern comfort of living, the demand of the society for energy, especially electricity, is rising automatically, making life more uncomfortable through the increase of pollution from power production. This is called the energy dilemma for emerging societies.
As the Chinese electric industry is reformed and relies increasingly on markets and competition, sustainability may be best
achieved by including the full cost of pollution in the cost of electricity. There are many ways to accomplish this and China's "polluter pays" policy provides an excellent starting point. Such a policy is efficient when it apply fees to all major pollutants, when the fees are high enough to reflect the full damage cost imposed by pollution and when revenues from the fees are used to redress or prevent pollution.
Localising Know-how is helping local societies to grow
Sustainability is not only connected to the environment and the economy, the development of the society and each of its members are also part of it. Companies who take the concept of Sustainability seriously are also helping their employees and the local communities to develop.
The Thailand Bongkot gas field, which generates one third of Thailands natural gas, is a good example. In 1988 Total and the Thai company PTTEP started its exploitation together and from the start began to offer training programs for more than 100 Thai engineers. Not only the tricky technical points were treated, but also the cultural differences between French and Thai ways of doing business and running a company. The local experts could become responsible for more and more aspects of the work. Finally, after five years, the skill-transfer was brought to a level which enabled the PTTEP company to take over the operatorship by itself, with PTTEP managers and engineers overseeing all operations in the field.
"A sustainable society is one that can persist over generations, one that is far-seeing enough, flexible enough, and wise enough not to undermine either its physical or its social systems of support. In order to be socially sustainable, the combination of population, capital, and technology in the society would have to be configured so that the material living standard is adequate and secure for everyone. In order to be physically sustainable the society's material and energy throughputs would have to meet three conditions: Its rates of use of renewable resources do not exceed their rates of regeneration; its rates of use of nonrenewable resources do not exceed the rate at which sustainable renewable substitutes are developed; and its rate of pollution emission do not exceed the assimilative capacity of the environment."
(Meadows, Meadows, and Randers)
Natural Gas is a mixture of light hydrocarbons composed mainly of methane, along with ethane, propane, butane and impurities like CO2.
Natural Gas accounts for 23% of world's primary energy consumption, which totalled 2,400 billion cubic meters, or 2,2 Gtoe, in 2002.
Reserves are estimated at 178,000 billion cubic meters, or sixty years of consumption at the current rate.