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China last year became the world's largest user of power, surpassing the U.S. The title came largely thanks to gains in U.S. energy efficiency.  (Source: Science Blogs)

China is expected to pass Japan this year to become the world's top coal importer. Only three years ago it was a net exporter.  (Source: CleanTechnica)

Aside from GHG emissions, China's high emissions of Nox and sulfuric compounds has given rise to noxious smog clouds, which now frequently blanket China, depending on weather conditions.  (Source: Telegraph UK)
Nation of over 1.3 billion people thirsts for power as it grows larger and more industrialized

Back in June 2007 China earned the dubious distinction of surpassing the U.S. to become the world's top emitter of greenhouse gases.  Now approximately three years later, the highly populated country has become the world's largest consumer of energy.

The news that China may now be the world biggest energy customer comes based on analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA).  According to the IEA, China overtook the U.S. in energy consumption sometime last year.

Despite having over 1.3 billion people, versus about 307 million in the U.S., China's new title may be primarily driven by the inefficient way it uses energy.  While the U.S. has improved its energy efficiency by 2.5 percent per year from 2000 to 2010, China only improved 1.7 percent.

While the U.S. still trails Europe in energy efficiency, it is consuming much less power as time goes on.  States Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist, "In the 2000, the US consumed twice as much energy as China, now China consumes more than the U.S. On the one hand, the U.S. has come to a certain saturation of energy use, but there have also been lots of efforts, especially since 2005, to use energy more efficiently."

As Birol indicates, the Chinese victory came as somewhat of a surprise, as it was widely expected to take a couple more years for the Chinese to surpass the U.S. in energy consumption.  But the the numbers conclusively show that last year China used 4 percent more power than the U.S. -- 2,252 million tons of oil equivalent of energy from sources including coal, oil, nuclear power, natural gas and hydropower.

The IEA states that China, as the world's top dog in energy consumption, will be able to dictate international energy policy to an extent.  States Birol, "There will be a big multiplier effect."

The U.S. in recent years has been concerned with China's energy hunger.  Disdainful of China's proposed "voluntary" emissions targets, the U.S. has also shown concern about China's aggressive pursuit of Kazakhstan oil.

Three years ago China was a net exporter of coal.  This year it is expected to import 105-115 million tonnes of coal, to surpass Japan as the world's largest coal importer.  China is also now Saudi Arabia's largest oil customer -- a position held for decades by the U.S.  Money speaks and that position will likely have a profound effect on international business and relations in the Middle East.

Nobuo Tanaka, the IEA's secretary-general, has been trying to convince China to join the IEA since March.  The organization, which represents the largest energy consumers in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) helps push for alternative energy and greater energy efficiency.

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By Solandri on 7/21/2010 3:29:48 PM , Rating: 2
The current recession is due to the housing bubble popping, which had many causes: Government encouraging home loans to people unable to afford them, big banks profiteering from said loans, ordinary citizens wasting windfall "profits" from appreciating home values on hookers and blow rather than spending/saving it prudently, people and investment brokers buying up mortgage securities as investments without really understanding what they were (sold by the big banks profiteering above), China artificially pegging the value of the Yuan to the U.S. Dollar causing a huge trade deficit causing the U.S. government to lower interest rates to try to get China to change its policy causing an overheated housing market to heat up some more. There are probably several more factors I don't recall at the moment.

Overly simplistic interpretations of events in hindsight to fit a certain political ideology is what causes people to make mistakes in the future. The world is a complicated mechanism. When problems arise, it's hardly ever due to a single reason. If your ideology requires, for its self-justification, that there be a single reason, then most likely it's your ideology which is probably wrong.

Incidentally, the housing bubble in many European countries was worse than in the U.S. Consequently, the recession has hit Europe harder than the U.S. The exception was Germany - they never had a housing bubble. Their economy tanked but began recovering more quickly than anyone else's. I suspect if they were still using Marks, right now they would have passed Japan and China to jump to the #2 economy in the world. But since they're tied to the Euro, their economy is being bogged down helping to pay for the economic negligence of other EU countries like Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain, etc.

(Google for PIIGS if you don't yet know about their problems. Most first world nations have public debt exceeding 100% of GDP, and those countries were the worst. The U.S. used to be a rare exception to this, with public debt at only 60% GDP. Unfortunately the two wars and the recent spending binge in the name of stimulus have skyrocketed that to over 100% putting us in the same boat as Europe.)

By brabus on 7/21/2010 9:21:48 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for your response.
I never said that grave economic problems were simplistic.
I do agree with what you said in your response.
Nevertheless everything stems from a basic principle of how different cultures deal with their social,economic and political life.

My first post was simply to warn people of the dangers of saying socialism/capitalism is bad. And things like obama is a socialist,which couldn't be further from the truth.
In America the is no left. There is right and further to the right. There is no strong left party. This situation brings,in my opinion an imbalance in your politics.

It does make me happy that some are so aware of how problems arise. Though I must say Solandri, that I wish more were as informed as you in order to prevent future recessions.

I do like your country and have lived there for quite a few years but unfortunately, I have to say that I haven't met a single person that has visited america and said that they like it.
The best way to put it is. The common compaint is you guys see no gray,it's either black or white. With me or against me kind of mentality which unbeknownst to the general public seeps into political life and decisions. Sorry if at first I sounded condescending but there are some things that just make you go mad.

ps: sorry went off topic there

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