Near-term trends in China's coal consumption
Coal combustion to power China’s factories, generate electricity, and heat buildings has increased continually since energy use statistics were first published in 1981. From 2013 until 2015, however, this trend reversed and coal use continued to decline from 2,810 million metric tons of coal equivalent (Mtce) to 2,752 Mtce, leading to a levelling off of China’s overall CO2 emissions. Some analysts have declared that China’s coal consumption may have peaked, but preliminary data indicate that coal consumption increased in 2017. This recent growth, combined with our analysis of projected increases in electricity demand that cannot be met by other fossil-fuel or non-fossil-fuel electricity sources, along with projected increases in coal use in light manufacturing, other non-industrial sectors, as well as in coal use for transformation, indicates potential future growth of China’s coal use to levels of 2,908 Mtce to 3,060 Mtce in 2020, with associated increases in energy-related CO2 emissions.