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