Research press release


Nature Energy

Energy consumption shows inequality in rural China


C Weiたちは、調理、家庭用電気製品への電力供給、給湯、暖房、冷房という5つの活動に重点を置いて、中国の農村部のエネルギー消費量について全国の家庭の調査を行った。その結果、エネルギー消費の観点から測った不平等は、家計の収入や支出のデータに基づく不平等尺度とは系統的に異なり、エネルギーの不平等は収入ベースの不平等よりばらつきが大きいことが分かった。彼らは、バイオマスからエネルギーを得ること、暖房や調理のためのエネルギーの利用、地域内格差が、中国農村部におけるエネルギー消費の不平等の主要原因であることを示している。


Access to better energy infrastructure in rural China has not alleviated energy inequality, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Energy. The study highlights household energy consumption as a stable, direct, and easily quantifiable measure of inequality based on the value of not just owning but using durable goods.

Chu Wei and colleagues conducted a nation-wide household survey on energy consumption in rural China, focusing on five activities: cooking, powering home appliances, water heating, space heating and space cooling. They find that inequality measured in terms of energy consumption is systematically different from inequality measures based on household income or expenditure data, such that energy inequality is more uneven than income-based inequality. They show that deriving energy from biomass, use of energy for space heating and cooking, and intraregional differences are major contributors to energy consumption inequality in rural China.

The authors suggest that inequality measures such as household income are limited because they are subject to short-term fluctuations and may not fully reflect available household resources. By using energy consumption data as a more direct measure of inequality, this study suggests that energy subsidies and infrastructure expansions are not sufficient to reduce energy inequality, and that policy should focus on energy affordability and promoting a transition away from biomass to other modern energy sources.

doi: 10.1038/s41560-017-0003-1


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