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Today in Energy

December 20, 2011

Rising Asian demand drives global coal consumption growth

World coal consumption by region, 1980-2010 (click to animate)

animated map of World coal consumption by region, 1980-2010, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics.
Note: With about 15 million short tons in total consumption, the Middle East was by far the smallest coal-consuming region and was too small to show on the map. In the animation, the line chart at the bottom shows the annual production of coal by region in billion short tons.

Global coal demand has almost doubled since 1980, driven by increases in Asia, where demand is up over 400% from 1980-2010. In turn, Asian demand is dominated by China; demand in China increased almost five-fold between 1980-2010 and accounted for 73% of Asia's consumption and almost half of coal consumption globally in 2010.

Asia coal consumption by country, 1980-2010 (click to animate)

animated map of Asia coal consumption by country, 1980-2010, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics.
Note: In the animation, the bar at the bottom reflects each country's share of total Asian coal production in that year.

The share of coal consumption has shifted from Europe and the Former Soviet Union to Asia. For example, Europe and the Former Soviet Union were the only two regions with declining coal consumption between 1980 and 2010, falling 32% and 42% respectively. Divergent coal use trends mean that Asia's share of global coal use rose from 24% to 63% during this period (see chart). Asia's growing coal demand has fueled large increases in global coal production.

tables of Growth of regional coal consumption as percent change from 1980 to 2010 and Share of global coal consumption as percent of total world consumption in 1980 and 2010, as described in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics.
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