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China became the world’s largest energy consumer in 2010 overtaking the USA during a year which saw the rebound in the global economy drive consumption higher and at a rate not seen since the aftermath of the 1973 oil price shocks.
Demand for all forms of energy grew strongly in 2010 and increases in fossil fuel consumption suggest that global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use rose at their fastest rate since 1969.
The growth in energy consumption was broad-based, with both mature OECD economies and non-OECD countries growing at above-average rates.
The figures come from today’s publication of the 60th annual BP Statistical Review of World Energy, the longest-running, consistent set of objective, global energy data used by business, academics, and governments to inform policy and decision making.
“There were both structural and cyclical factors at work,” said Bob Dudley, BP Chief Executive. “The cyclical factor is reflected in the fact that industrial production rebounded very sharply as the world recovered from the global downturn. Structurally, the increase reflects the continuing rapid economic growth in the developing world.
“I was in China a couple of weeks ago and I came away with a very clear sense of how rigorously China is thinking about these issues. Growth is by no means the only game in town. They want to maintain social cohesion and they want to make their growth more sustainable. In sum, they are worried about energy security and climate change – just as we are.”
To address these concerns, “we can look to the markets, policy tools, technology advances and not least to the growth of renewable energies to allay these worries,” said Dudley.
“This year, we have seen that the global energy markets are resilient. In the face of significant disruptions to the world’s energy system in Japan and Libya, demand continues to be satisfied. Markets work and markets work best when they are open and transparent.”