CHINA’S ENERGY USE IN A GLOBAL CONTEXT

Kelly Sims Gallagher began her talk at the summit by comparing China’s energy use with that of the United States (Table 3.1). In 2006, China consumed 72 percent as much energy as did the United States. However, China is quickly catching up. Total energy consumption in China increased 70 percent between 2000 and 2005. And total coal consumption increased by 75 percent during the same time period. However, because China’s population is more than four times that of the United States, the country’s per capita use of energy is much lower.

China’s oil imports also have grown rapidly, but they are still less than one-third U.S. levels. China’s coal consumption, however, is already twice that of the United States. Coal is China’s most abundant energy resource, even though the United States has much greater reserves. Coal accounts for 93 percent of China’s remaining fossil fuel resources. Three-quarters of China’s electricity comes from coal—526 gigawatts, as of 2007. Hydropower accounts

TABLE 3.1 Energy Comparisons Between the United States and China

 

USA

China

China/USA

Total energy consumption, 2006 (million tons of oil equivalent)

2,326

1,697

72%

Net oil imports, 2006 (million barrels per day)

12.3

3.4

28%

Total oil consumption, 2006 (million barrels per day)

20.6

7.4

36%

Electricity capacity, 2007 (gigawatts)

992

713

63%

Coal consumption, 2006 (million tons of oil equivalent)

567

1,193

210%

Reserves (percent of world)

 

 

 

Coal

27%

13%

 

Oil

2%

1%

 

Gas

3%

1%

 

Passenger cars (cars, pickups, SUVs), 2007 (millions)

~230

~30

13%

Total carbon dioxide emissions, 2007 (billion metric tons) ~6

~6

 

100%

Population

300 million

1.3 billion

433%

SOURCE: Kelly Sims Gallagher, “The Rise of China,” presentation at the Summit on America’s Energy Future on March 13, 2008.



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