Climate & Energy

Almost half of all coal burned in the world is burned in China

Speaking of air pollution in China, here’s a disconcerting graph from the U.S. Energy Information Agency.

EIA

The EIA explains:

Coal consumption in China grew more than 9% in 2011, continuing its upward trend for the 12th consecutive year, according to newly released international data. China’s coal use grew by 325 million tons in 2011, accounting for 87% of the 374 million ton global increase in coal use.

China now uses 47 percent of the world’s coal. It’s an almost unfathomable figure.

The EIA also created this animation of Asian coal growth between 1980 and 2010.

In 2011, China’s per-person carbon footprint neared Europe’s, but was still far behind that of the U.S. As the country consumes more coal, that figure will rise — meaning an exponential increase in carbon dioxide, soot, and other toxic pollutants in the air and atmosphere.

One last bit of bad news, from Financial Times energy reporter Ed Crooks:

Even if China’s coal demand growth does slow, India is catching up fast. It may burn as much as China by 2017, the @iea says

— Ed Crooks (@Ed_Crooks) January 29, 2013

We’ll update with some good news if possible. Someday.