Wednesday, July 21, 2010

china passes u.s. as world's biggest energy consumer

Bloomberg | China overtook the U.S. as the world’s biggest energy user last year, emphasizing that developing nations are driving global growth, according to the International Energy Agency.

China consumed 2,252 million metric tons of oil equivalent in 2009 in the form of crude, coal, natural gas, nuclear power and renewable sources, IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol said yesterday. That exceeded the 2,170 million tons used by the U.S.

“It’s one of those major turning points,” Tilak Doshi, the chief economist at the Energy Studies Institute at the National University of Singapore, said in a phone interview. “China is growing by leaps and bounds. You’ve got OECD countries where you’re talking about oil demand peaking, meanwhile the emerging countries like China and India will keep growing their energy demand.”

China’s gross domestic product expanded 10.3 percent in the second quarter even as the government took measures to cool growth. China, with Hong Kong included, was the biggest energy user in 2009, consuming 2.2 billion tons of oil equivalent, BP Plc said in its annual Statistical Review of World Energy in June. The U.S. was second and Russia ranked third, BP said.

“As China overtakes the U.S. as the world’s largest energy consumer, it is not only a domestic issue for China, but has repercussions for the rest of the world not only in supply terms, but also in how the energy is consumed,” Birol said in an interview by phone from Paris. “If China uses electric cars, hybrids and so on, they will impose the manufacturing line on most of the rest of the world.”