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Articles by Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips is the Beijing correspondent for the Guardian.

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This story was originally published by the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, has been dramatically underreporting the amount of coal it consumes each year, it has been claimed ahead of key climate talks in Paris.

Official Chinese data, reported by the New York Times on Wednesday after being quietly released earlier this year, suggests China has been burning up to 17 percent more coal each year than previously disclosed by the government.

The revelation — which may mean China has emitted close to a billion additional tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year — could complicate the fight against global warming ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris, which begins on Nov. 30.

In 2012, China consumed 600 million more tons of coal — or more than 70 percent of the United States’ annual total — than previously disclosed, according to the revised data.

China’s National Bureau of Statistics did not immediately confirm the report. However, speaking at a coal conference in Beijing, an adviser to the Natural Resource... Read more