China's rapid economic growth, combined with increasing urbanization, poses special environmental problems that are exacerbated by its dependence upon coal. The widespread use of coal in small local boilers and fires without emissions control equipment leads to high ambient levels of particulates and noxious gases which have serious human health consequences. Without substantial efficiency improvements in production, transformation and energy use, the consequences of China's growing energy demands on regional and global emissions are incontrovertible - an 11 per cent share of global carbon emissions in 1992 which will increase even further by the turn of the century, and the single largest source of emissions among all countries. Urban air quality will continue to deteriorate and acidic depositions in Asia will increase. The health of China's cities and global emissions balances are closely related to China's energy emissions and the profile of energy development.