graph of Chinese coal consumption, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics. Note: For countries whose 2012 data was unavailable, 2011 data were extrapolated forward one year. These countries comprised about 3% of both total consumption and total production.

Chinese production and consumption of coal increased for the 13th consecutive year in 2012. China is by far the world's largest producer and consumer of coal, accounting for 46% of global coal production and 49% of global coal consumption—almost as much as the rest of the world combined. As a manufacturing country that has large electric power requirements, China's coal consumption fuels its economic growth. China's gross domestic product (GDP) grew 7.7% in 2012, following an average GDP growth rate of 10% per year from 2000 to 2011.

The top 10 coal-producing countries supplied 90% of the world's coal in 2012. China produced nearly four times as much coal as the second largest producer, the United States, which had a 12% share of global production. China has accounted for 69% of the 3.2 billion ton increase in global coal production over the past 10 years.

The top 10 coal-consuming countries consumed 85% of the world's coal in 2012. Eight of the 10 largest producers are among the top 10 consumers. China is the largest coal consumer, accounting for 49% of the world's total coal. The next largest, the United States, consumed 11% of the world's total. China's coal consumption increased by more than 2.3 billion tons over the past 10 years, accounting for 83% of the global increase in coal consumption.

Coal accounts for most of China's energy consumption, and coal has maintained an approximate 70% share of Chinese consumption (on a Btu basis) since at least 1980, the starting date for EIA's global coal data. By way of comparison, coal was 18% of U.S. energy use and 28% of global energy use in 2012.

Principal contributor: Joseph Ayoub