13 October 2010

Michael Levi on Meaningless Numbers

Michael Levi suggests that interpretation of China's official pronouncements on energy intensity is more than a quantitative exercise:
This past March, China announced that it had cut its energy intensity by 14.38% from 2005 to 2009. Several critics noted that Chinese energy and GDP statistics suggested that the cut had actually been only 8.2%. Now NDRC  vice-Minister Xie Zhenhua says, in a statement today, that the 2005-2009 cut was actually 15.6%. I hope I’ll be excused if, like the Chinese experts I’ve spoken with in the last week, I come to the conclusion that these numbers have become pretty meaningless.