China is now the world’s top energy user

When it comes to topics of energy, China certainly has been making plenty of headlines. 

We’ve recently reported on China’s surge forward as the world’s leader in wind-energy capacity, surpassing the United States in 2010, and have covered reports showing that China now dominates the world in terms of clean energy investments as well. 

Now, based on a report from British Petroleum (BP) we learn that China holds another energy record of sorts.

According to the 60th annual BP Statistical Review of World Energy, China consumed more energy than any other country in the world during 2010 with a whopping 20.3% share of global energy use. 

This is due to the fact that China’s energy use grew 11.2% during 2010. However, China isn’t the only country in which energy use went on the rise.

In fact, energy consumption at the global level was up (way up) across the board. BP’s report shows that global energy consumption grew by 5.6% last year, the biggest surge in energy use since 1973, and it happened in all regions with all forms of energy.

Fossil fuel-based energy consumption grew last year and, therefore, so did CO2 emissions. 

Surprisingly, oil use wasn’t the primary contributor to this statistic.

Globally, oil consumption grew just 3.1%, as China’s use of oil grew 10.4%. 

It was actually coal consumption that drove fossil-fuel use upward, growing 7.6%-the highest growth rate since 2003. Coal’s share of global energy consumption was 29.6% last year, representing almost 1/3rd of the world’s power sources.

Fortunately, renewable energy also grew during 2010, though to a lesser degree. Last year renewables represented 1.8% of all energy consumed which is an improvement of 15.5% over 2009 levels. Global biofuel production grew 13.8%,  hydroelectric power grew 5.3%  and wind-energy production grew an impressive 22.7%.

Caleb Denison, EarthTechling