Current CO2 concentration in the atmosphere

The Chinese Coal Monster

Euan Mearns has an excellent post up at The Oil Drum: Europe, The Chinese Coal Monster, which I highly recommend. The piece is, as you can guess from the title, a look at the statistics of China’s coal production and consumption, with what seems to be a good explanation for the rise of China’s coal imports even though they are self-sufficient.


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2 comments to The Chinese Coal Monster

  • Sasparilla

    Nice link Lou. Just looking at the trends there (Chinese use 50% of world supply now per year, use increasing 10% per year and using 10% of world exports), it would seem that we are heading towards a supply issue there much sooner than I expected/hoped.

    Looks like less than a decade after the punch we get from world oil production topping out, Coal will follow through with the second punch as world coal prices go through the roof.

    Its going to be a rough economic ride over the next decade or two. I don’t even want to imagine what this portends for CO2 emissions and the implications of that. Think the Chinese will burn out their usable reserves? (seems likely) Ugh.

  • Lou

    I’m also beginning to wonder where we (as in all of humanity) are headed in terms of coal. The current BP Statistical Review says world coal consumption increased by 45% from 1999 to 2009, while oil consumption rose by “only” 11% and natural gas consumption rose by 27%, both over the same time period. And then there are all the nagging doubts about how much recoverable coal there really is, as has been discussed several times in the last year or so over on The Oil Drum.

    I used to say on this site that we’ll burn just about every last drop of recoverable oil. That assessment was based on the simple, painful truth of how hard it is to de-oil modern economies. Oil is a phenomenally convenient fuel in terms of portability, energy density, and cost (as long as you count just the expense to pull it out of the ground, refine it, and then deliver the finished goods to consumers). It’s convenient, that is, until climate change and peak oil become issues. I’m now beginning to wonder how close we’ll get to burning every last lump of coal, as well…