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This is what China has been hiding from the world about its coal consumption

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 13 February 2017, 7:48 IST

This news comes as an astonishing revelation ahead of the crucial climate change talks which are scheduled to happen in Paris this December.

According to media reports, official Chinese data which was released earlier this year, suggests that China has not be revealing its correct annual coal consumption figures; they have been understating it by 17 per cent.

This means that the country has been emitting a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide additionally into the atmosphere every year than the world is presently aware of.

Surprisingly, the estimated increase in the report is greater than the fossil-fuel emission recorded from Germany annually.

Coal consumption underestimated since 2000

The revised data reportedly appeared in an energy statistics yearbook published without any fanfare by China's statistical agency.

The report also says that coal consumption has been under-reported since 2000, and particularly in the recent years. The new version of the estimation adds about 600 million tons to China's coal consumption in 2012 - an amount equivalent to more than 70 per cent of the total coal used annually by the United States.

Alarming indicators

The new figures have further substantiated the causes behind China's staggeringly poor air quality.

It is important to mention that the Chinese government has promised to halt the growth of its carbon dioxide emission, the main greenhouse pollutant from coal and other fossil fuels, by 2030.

The new data puts up more alarming challenges before the administration and they will have to pursue the target more urgently and aggressively.

A blow to the fight against carbon emissions

China is already world's largest consumer of coal as it dug up 3.87bn tonnes last year alone. Chinese capital Beijing was also accused of wrecking climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009 by opposing legally binding emissions cuts.

However, the new revelation highlights what was being followed from the stats and what was transpiring on the actual ground.

The figures might jeopardise the world's fight against climate change. What is to be seen now is how the country takes it forward from here and puts forth its argument at the 2015 Unites Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.

First published: 4 November 2015, 5:03 IST