China at the center of global energy change

Technicians inspect turbines at a wind farm in Tianchang, China
Chinese technicians inspect turbines at a wind farm in Tianchang. China became the second biggest producer of wind energy in 2015 (source: dpa)

  • Global energy consumption slowed last year: oil and renewables rose, while coal declined
  • Natural gas consumption and production both saw big rises
  • China’s changing economy had a major impact on all of these trends
  • Its moves away from coal and toward accepting carbon emissions targets are good news for the rest of the world
A sluggish world economy and sustained improvement in energy efficiency caused growth in global energy consumption to slow to 1 percent in 2015, well below the 10-year average of 1.9 percent. Although the rate varies significantly across countries, China, the world’s largest energy consumer, also saw just 1 percent growth, its slowest pace in 20 years.

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