"There is a stronger sense of energy security than climate change," said Zou Ji, who retired as China's international climate change negotiator last year, The New York Times reported Thursday.
China is expected to complete a comprehensive energy policy next year. In the meantime, the emphasis is on securing an energy supply "where you can plant your foot on it," said Li Junfeng, an senior Chinese policy maker on energy issues.
That means securing supplies that come from China, which is the third largest coal producer in the world.
While coal, a relatively dirty fuel to burn, is in abundance, China flipped from an oil exporting country to an oil importing country in the early 1990s.
Since then, China's demand for oil has increased sharply, but its production has remained stagnant.
Through the same decades, China has emerged as the world's largest producer of wind turbines and solar panels and invested twice as much in renewable energy in 2009 as the United States, the Times said.