Sunday, April 29, 2012

China's Soaring Demand For Coal

Here's a startling chart, from Sightline in Seattle:

China's jump in coal use of about 2000 Mt/yr in just a decade represents about 6 gigatons of CO2 emissions a year -- one-fifth of current world emissions.

(No, I'm not blaming them -- China's per capita CO2 emissions are still less than 1/3rd that of the US. India -- who seems headed up the same arc as China but about 30 years behind -- emits less than 1/10th that of the US. If China and India were to emit at the same per capita rate as the US, and the rest of the world stayed constant, worldwide emissions would more than double to 63 Gt CO2/yr. If the entire world emitted like the US, emissions would be 114 Gt CO2/yr, almost 4 times the current level.)

By the way, total US coal production is only about 1,000 Mt/yr, and it peaked in 2008. So you can see why they want to send it on trains from Wyoming to eastern Oregon, ship it by barges down the Columbia River, then ship it across the Pacific Ocean to China. There's a big fight starting here in Oregon about this.

1 comment:

charlesH said...

This is good news.

"China will accelerate the use of new-energy sources such as nuclear energy and put an end to blind expansion in industries such as solar energy and wind power in 2012, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says in a government report published on March 5.
China will instead develop nuclear power in 2012, actively develop hydroelectric power, tackle key problems more quickly in the exploration and development of shale gas, and increase the share of new energy and renewable energy in total energy consumption." ... power.html


"China has officially announced it will launch a program to develop a thorium-fueled molten-salt nuclear reactor, taking a crucial step towards shifting to nuclear power as a primary energy source.

The project was unveiled at the annual Chinese Academy of Sciences conference in Shanghai last week, and reported in the Wen Hui Bao newspaper (Google English translation here).

If the reactor works as planned, China may fulfill a long-delayed dream of clean nuclear energy. The United States could conceivably become dependent on China for next-generation nuclear technology. At the least, the United States could fall dramatically behind in developing green energy."

“President Obama talked about a Sputnik-type call to action in his SOTU address,” wrote Charles Hart, a a retired semiconductor researcher and frequent commenter on the Energy From Thorium discussion forum. “I think this qualifies.”