China's post-coal growth

Slowing GDP growth, a structural shift away from heavy industry, and more proactive policies on air pollution and clean energy have caused China's coal use to peak. It seems that economic growth has decoupled from growth in coal consumption.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1

© ALEX SEGRE / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Figure 2: China's economy, primary energy and coal consumption (setting 1980 values as 100), and their respective growth rates.
Figure 3: Historical trajectories of economic development and coal consumption for the United Kingdom, the United States and China (data normalized for comparison; note differences in values on both axes).

References

  1. 1

    World Energy Outlook 2015 (International Energy Agency, 2015).

  2. 2

    National Bureau of Statistics China Energy Statistical Yearbook 2014 (China Statistics Press, 2015).

  3. 3

    Qi, Y., Wu, T., He, J. & King, D. A. Nature Geosci. 6, 507–509 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    Wang, J., Feng, L., Davidsson, S. & Höök, M. Energy 60, 204–214 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Liu, Z. et al. Nature 524, 335–338 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Korsbakken, J. I., Peters, G. P. & Andrew, R. M. Nature Clim. Change 6, 687–690 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Jevons, W. S. The Coal Question: An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of Our Coal-Mines (Macmillan & Co., 1865).

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Qi, Y. Annual Review of Low-Carbon Development in China (2014) (Social Sciences Academic Press, 2014).

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Qi, Y. et al. Annual Review of Low-Carbon Development in China (2015–2016) (Social Sciences Academic Press, 2016).

    Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Du, B. China's Coal Supply and Future Development (National Energy Administration, 2015).

    Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Liu, Z. et al. Nature Clim. Change 6, 201–206 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative Society (World Bank and the Development Research Center of the State Council, 2013).

  13. 13

    Qi, Y. & Wu, T. WIREs Clim. Change 4, 301–313 (2013).

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Green, F. & Stern, N. Clim. Pol. http://doi.org/bdmm (2016).

  15. 15

    Rifkin, J. The Third Industrial Revolution: How Lateral Power Is Transforming Energy, the Economy, and the World (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011).

    Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Stern, N. Why Are We Waiting? The Logic, Urgency, and Promise of Tackling Climate Change (MIT Press, 2015).

    Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Sinn, H.-W. Int. Tax Public Finan. 15, 360–394 (2008).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Sinn, H.-W. The Green Paradox: A Supply-Side Approach to Global Warming (MIT Press, 2012).

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Tong Wu.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Qi, Y., Stern, N., Wu, T. et al. China's post-coal growth. Nature Geosci 9, 564–566 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo2777

Download citation

Further reading