China’s energy use has more than doubled over the last decade to overtake the United States as the word’s biggest user, according to preliminary data from the International Energy Agency.
As the data from the IEA shows, China has gone from using 1,107 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2000, to 2,131 Mtoe in 2008 and is estimated to have consumed 2,265 Mtoe in 2009.
Meanwhile, US energy consumption was only marginally higher in 2008 (at 2,281 Mtoe) than it was in 2000 (2,270 Mtoe), and will actually be shown to have fallen last year (to 2,169 Mtoe).
As Jonathan Watts writes is his news story from Beijing, this is a major turning point. The US has been the world’s biggest energy user since records began.
Energy use and carbon emissions in developed countries approximately leveled off over the past 35 years, where developed countries are defined as Europe, the U.S., the former Soviet Union, Japan, Canada, and Australia. The leveling of emissions from developed countries is in part a result of outsourcing of manufacturing to developing countries.
International trade affects global air pollution and transport by redistributing emissions related to production of goods and services and by potentially altering the total amount of global emissions. Here we analyze the trade influences by combining an economic-emission analysis on China’s bilateral trade and atmospheric chemical transport modeling. Our focused analysis on US air quality shows that Chinese air pollution related to production for exports contributes, at a maximum on a daily basis, 12–24% of sulfate pollution over the western United States. The US outsourcing of manufacturing to China might have reduced air quality in the western United States with an improvement in the east, due to the combined effects of changes in emissions and atmospheric transport.
The world’s richest countries are increasingly outsourcing their carbon pollution to China and other rising economies, according to a draft UN report.
Outsourcing of emissions comes in the form of electronic devices such as smartphones, cheap clothes and other goods manufactured in China and other rising economies but consumed in the US and Europe.
A draft of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by the Guardian, says emissions of carbon dioxide and the other greenhouse gases warming the planet grew twice as fast in the first decade of the 21st century as they did during the previous three decades.
Much of that rise was due to the burning of coal, the report says. And much of that coal was used to power factories in China and other rising economies that produce goods for US and European consumers, the draft adds.