Interactive Graphic: China’s Explosive Consumption of Coal

Want to see just how much coal consumption in Asia has grown in the last 30 years? These new animated info-graphics from the Energy Information Administration tell a powerful and scary story.

As expected, much of the recent growth in Asia — particularly since 2003 — has come from China. That country’s use of coal has increased 500% since 1980, made up almost three quarters of Asian consumption, and half of global consumption last year.

Clicking on the graphic below will re-direct you to the EIA’s website, where you can watch the animation.

Back in September, the EIA published its International Energy Outlook, which we described as a “denier’s fantasy world.” Under a do-nothing, business-as-usual scenario, the agency predicts China’s continued use of coal will increase carbon emissions so dramatically, the country’s climate pollution levels will double the U.S. in the next 15 years.

China has been deploying renewables at an astonishing pace. But its use of coal has far outpaced any sort of clean technologies being installed. If we want to see the circles in these graphics stop their dramatic ballooning, our current path doesn’t come close to addressing the problem.

Oh. And I forgot to mention that the Canadians are eying China as their biggest customer for tar sands crude.

8 Responses to Interactive Graphic: China’s Explosive Consumption of Coal

  1. John McCormick says:

    HELLO!!!! iS THIS NEWS??

  2. harvey says:

    Do you understand what China is doing?
    Short term -> build coal plants to drive the energy requirements of the country
    Long term -> build 200 NUCLEAR plants then retire the coal plants no longer needed.

    by 2050 that is… China hopes to have 250 nuclear plants.. Energy drives the current worlds society and they are in the lead.

  3. Lou Grinzo says:

    John: To far too many people, yes, it IS news.

  4. Stephen Lacey says:

    John — many of the stories on this site probably aren’t “news” to many people. Sometimes, it’s about telling the same story in different ways to raise awareness about an important issue. That can be just as important as breaking actual “news.”

  5. Solar Jim says:

    That is a total of Eight Billion Tons per year of coal burned. Doesn’t that just make you sick (well, yes)? Besides dying by lung cancer, mercury toxicity, etc., I don’t believe these economies understand that fossil carbonic acid gas does not “go away.” That is, oxidation moves it from lithosphere to biosphere, where it ultimately acts powerfully against economic sustenance.

  6. John McCormick says:

    Stephen, you are right. New arrivals to CP will learn something from your piece. My comment was not very constructive.

    Though, I see a huge difference in the coal consumption totals provided by EIA and the Annual Energy Statistics posed by BP.

    The link below will take you to the report and see page 33. China’s 2010 coal use was 1.7 billion tons and world was about 3.5 billion. I’ll look at the EIA report and see the source of its data..

    Have a peaceful holiday. and Thanks for your great work on CP and at Durban. at pg 33

  7. This is a very powerful graphic. It illustrates the critical importance of the coal burning infrastructure in China to the global warming equation. This is why many of us are so committed to the effort to prevent the efforts to build massive coal ports on the West Coast of the United States.