June 9, 2011

World Coal Consumption Grows by 7.6% in 2010

Schumpeter at the Economist has some figures from BP's latest report on world energy:
Most of China’s growth came from burning more coal: in 2000 China accounted for just under a third of world coal use; in 2010 a staggering 48.2%. Repeat that sort of expansion on a smaller scale for a number of other countries and you see why coal is going up in the global mix. You also see why the world’s energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions have grown even faster than its energy use—by 5.8% last year, on BP’s figures. That is the fastest growth since 1969.

The shift in production from developed to emerging economies doesn’t just decrease global energy efficiency; it also increases emissions for any given amount of energy use. The less energy-efficient economies also tend to be the heaviest coal users. [Chistoph Rühl, BP's chief economist,] points to the intractability this adds to the problem of emissions; even if emerging economies are reducing their carbon intensity (the amount of carbon emitted per unit of output), global carbon intensity can continue to rise if production shifts to those emerging economies fast enough. Hence record growth in emissions despite modest but real commitments to emissions control in both emerging and developed economies.

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