A shale gas revolution for China?

Neil Gunningham*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)


    The question of whether China is on the verge of a 'shale gas revolution' is examined. This has potentially significant consequences for energy policy and climate change mitigation. Contrary to the optimistic reading of some commentators, it argues that various technological, environmental, political, regulatory and institutional factors will constrain the growth of China's shale gas market and that such a revolution might in any event have consequences that are at best mixed, at worst antithetical to climate change mitigation.Policy relevanceChina's reserves of unconventional gas have the potential to transform energy policy, as has occurred in the US, resulting in the substitution of shale gas for coal in the energy mix. Because gas emits only approximately half the GHG per unit as coal, such a move would have important implications for climate policy. However, substantial obstacles stand in the way of the 'energy revolution' that some policy analysts see China as embarking upon. The need to acknowledge these obstacles, particularly those relating to regulation and governance (and whether or to what extent they can be overcome), is an issue of profound importance to the future of climate and energy policy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)302-320
    Number of pages19
    JournalClimate Policy
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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