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China surpassed the U.S. last year as the world’s largest energy consumer, according to an annual report by British oil giant BP (BP).
China moved to the top spot of energy consumption in 2010 with 20.3% of global demand, ahead of the U.S.’s 19%, according to BP’s 60th annual Statistical Review of World Energy. China’s consumption edged up 11.2% last year compared with just 3.7% growth in the U.S.
Demand for all forms of energy grew 5.6% in 2010, BP said, noting the rebound in the global economy helped drive the biggest one-year jump since the aftermath of the 1973 oil price shocks.
Consumption growth accelerated for all regions. Demand in OECD countries, which includes 34 countries including the U.S., U.K., France and Germany, grew by 3.5%, the strongest since 1984. Consumption in those countries remained roughly in line with 10 years ago, while non-OECD countries saw consumption grow by 7.5%.
“Energy intensity – the amount of energy used for one unit of GDP – grew at the fastest rate since 1970,” Christof Rühl, BP’s group chief economist, said in a statement. “And so, when all the accounting is done, planet Earth – we all – consumed more energy in 2010 than ever before.”
While China was the world’s largest consumer of coal at 48%, the U.S. remained biggest oil consumer with 21% of demand, double that of China’s.