China – climate and energy statistics

ChinaAnnual national greenhouse gas emissions

Approximately 18% of the global total. This puts China roughly equal first with the USA. But China’s contribution to historic emissions remains very small: almost all of the historic contribution is from North America and Europe.

Historical contribution – 1850 to 2000


Per capita annual greenhouse gas emissions

5.5 tonnes. This puts China at 72 in the global league of per capita polluters. The US is at 24 tons, most European countries are at around 10 tons. Many of the Chinese emissions are from manufacturing goods that are then exported to Europe and North America.

Energy used per unit of GDP (compared to USA)


Balance of energy sources – 2008



Coal 66.5
Oil 17.25
Renewables other than hydro* 10
Gas 3.25
Hydro 2.4
Nuclear 0.85

*          predominantly biomass gathered and used in rural areas, so non-commercial.

Energy security

China has 13% of the world’s proven coal reserves – placing it third, behind the US (27%) and Russia (17%). About 85% of the oil used in China is produced domestically.

Electricity generated in 2008

Fuel %
Coal 79
Hydro* 17
Nuclear 2
Gas 0.9
Biomass 0.7
Oil 0.7
Wind** 0.4
Solar PV 0.05

* Hydro capacity has increased substantially with the expansion of generation from the 3 Gorges Dam. The total generating capacity will eventually reach 22.5Gw. It has displaced some 1.24 million people.

** Wind capacity has expanded substantially since 2008 – see below

Installed wind capacity

2002                           468Mw

2005                           1.25Gw

2006                           2.6Gw

2007                           5.9Gw

2008                           12.2Gw

2009                           25.1 Gw

2010                           41.8 Gw

China now has more installed wind capacity than any other country.

Having doubled its installed capacity in each of the last five years, this relative newcomer is now poised to dominate the wind energy industry for years to come … Nowhere is China’s bid for wind supremacy more evident than in its new Wind Base program. In 2008, the National Energy Administration selected six wind-rich locations as sites for wind mega-complexes of between 10,000 and 30,000 megawatts each. A seventh has since been added to the list. In August 2009 construction began on the first project, a 13,000-megawatt complex in the northwestern province of Gansu. When completed, these Wind Bases will total more than 110,000 megawatts of capacity, the generating equivalent of 110 coal-fired power plants.”

(See Earth Policy Institute: China Challenging the United States for World Wind Leadership.)

Electricity – supply and demand

China has constant electricity shortages due to the massive increase in demand. Its lack of an integrated national grid system is a further difficulty.

Fuels used for heat, 2008



Coal 92.5
Oil 4.5
Gas 2.75
Biomass 0.5

China had over 22Gw (in thermal equivalent) of solar thermal in 2001, making it the world leader (see Solar Marshal: Global Solar Market Analysis). It has remained the world leader on this.

Percentage of agriculture certified as organic


Cars per thousand of population



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