Chinese coal consumption surged for a 12th consecutive year in 2011, with the country burning 2.3 billion tons of the carbon-emitting mineral to run power plants, industrial boilers and other equipment to support its economic and population growth.frack.
In a simple but striking chart published on its website, the U.S. Energy Information Administration plotted China's progress as the world's dominant coal-consuming country, shooting past rival economies like the United States, India and Russia as well as regional powers such as Japan and South Korea.
In fact, according to EIA, the 325-million-ton increase in Chinese coal consumption in 2011 accounted for 87 percent of the entire world's growth for the year, which was estimated at 374 million tons. Since 2000, China has accounted for 82 percent of the world's coal demand growth, with a 2.3-billion-ton surge, the agency said.
"China now accounts for 47 percent of global coal consumption -- almost as much as the rest of the world combined," EIA said of the latest figures.
The rising consumption numbers reflect a 200-plus percent increase in Chinese electricity generation since 2000, with most of the new power coming from coal-fired power plants. Chinese growth averaged 9 percent per year from 2000 to 2010, more than twice the 4 percent global growth rate for coal consumption. And when China is excluded from the tally, growth in coal use averaged only 1 percent for the rest of the world over the 2000-2010 period, according to EIA.