China miffed with world's No1 energy-consumer tag

The one crown that China is unhappy to wear is that of the world's largest energy consumer; the Chinese government immediately questioned the data put out yesterday by the International Energy Agency (IEA) that said China had surpassed the US in consuming energy.

The Paris-based agency said that China consumed 2.265 billion metric tons of oil last year in all forms of energy, including oil, nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable sources, compared to 2.169 billion metric tons by the US.

This data was immediately refuted by China through a hurriedly called press conference yesterday by Zhou Xian, a director from the National Energy Administration (NEA).

Zhou said that the data put out by IEA on China's energy use was unreliable as the country consumed 2.252 billion tonnes of oil equivalent in 2009, which is only 0.4 per cent more than the US consumption of 2.169 billion tonnes.

But energy consumption figures emanating from China are conflicting as the country's National Bureau of Statistics said in a February 2010 report that China's energy consumption was to 2.132 billion tonnes of oil equivalent.

Zhou Xian blamed the IAE for not taking into account China's massive efforts to cut energy use and emissions, especially its aggressive expansion in clean-energy development.