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As over 30 million residents of Beijing experience record-breaking levels of hazardous smog, the U.S. Energy Information Agency’s latest report shows that China currently accounts for almost half of all the global coal consumption; totaling 325 million tons in 2011 alone. The EIA report explains that coal consumption in China grew more than 9 percent in 2011, accounting for 87 percent of the global increase in coal use that year.
The increase in China’s coal consumption is nearly three times higher than it was in 2000, as more than half of it is used for generating power and in the manufacturing of steel. The increase in China’s per-person carbon footprint is followed by an increase in carbon dioxide and other toxic emissions, as witnessed in recent record-breaking smog levels in Beijing.
“Robust coal demand growth in China is the result of a more than 200% increase in Chinese electric generation since 2000, fueled primarily by coal. China’s coal demand growth averaged 9% per year from 2000 to 2010, more than double the global growth rate of 4% and significantly higher than global growth excluding China, which averaged only 1%,” explains the EIA.
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