We’re Number Two

It’s a when-not-if announcement:  China Passes U.S. as World’s Biggest Energy Consumer:

[A]ccording to new data from the International Energy Agency . . .  whose forecasts are generally regarded as bellwether indicators for the energy industry, China devoured 2,252 million tons of oil equivalent last year, or about 4% more than the U.S., which burned through 2,170 million tons of oil equivalent. The oil-equivalent metric represents all forms of energy consumed, including crude oil, nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable sources such as hydropower.

The linked Wall Street Journal article notes that then years ago, China’s energy consumption was half that of the U.S.  China passed the U.S. in a related category three years ago, when its reliance on coal-fired electrical plants made it “the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases.”  Still, head-to-head, we are far greater energy hogs:  “the average American burn[s] five times as much energy annually as the average Chinese citizen.”  We also consume far more oil, 19 million barrels a day compare to second-place China’s 9.2 million barrels a day.  By 2025 China is expected to add power generation capacity of 1,000 gigawatts, which is equal to the entire current power-generation capacity of the U.S.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the implications of these facts, inevitable as they may be, are more significant to our national security than Afghanistan, Iraq, the BP oil spill, and immigration–and that how the U.S. responds to China’s energy-consumption dominance will shape how we respond to all of these challenges.

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