Case | HBS Case Collection | April 1994 (Revised March 1995)

China (C): Energy and the Environment

by Richard H.K. Vietor


Describes energy and environmental policy in China during the period 1980-1993. China has implemented ambitious plans for electrification and the substitution of fossil fuels (mostly coal) for biomass. The environmental consequences of these changes, at the local and regional levels, have been pronounced; the long-term global consequences of Chinese energy development are also thought to be significant. Chinese environmental policy has been aimed largely at mitigating the worst local and regional impacts. Raises several questions: the degree to which energy shortages or environmental problems will constrain China's future growth; the degree to which environmental quality is an important objective of Chinese policy; and the possible roles that Western governments and firms might play in developing and implementing sound energy strategies for China. Teaching Objective: To analyze the effects of governmental energy policies on local air pollution and on global atmospheric problems, to think about problems of environment and development, and to analyze the relationships between host governments and foreign firms in the energy sector.

Keywords: Energy Generation; Environmental Sustainability; Policy; Pollution and Pollutants; Weather and Climate Change; Business and Government Relations; Globalization; Energy Industry; China;


Vietor, Richard H.K. "China (C): Energy and the Environment." Harvard Business School Case 794-134, April 1994. (Revised March 1995.)