BEIJING: China has been under-reporting its coal consumption for years, experts said Wednesday after official statistics were revised upwards by hundreds of millions of tons a year.
Pollution is a growing concern in the world’s second-largest economy, whose cities are regularly blanketed by choking smog — much of it the result of burning coal, which provides most of China’s primary energy.
The updated figures suggest that Chinese emissions of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide — already the world’s largest — are bigger than previously thought.
The news comes weeks before a UN summit in Paris, where nations will seek an agreement on tackling climate change, in the face of divisions over how the burden should be divided between countries.
The 2014 version of China’s official statistics yearbook says the country consumed 3.53 billion tons of coal in 2012.
But in the latest edition, the same number for the same year was given as 4.12 billion tons — a rise of nearly 600 million tons, or almost 17 percent.
The increase was equivalent to over 70 percent of the United States’ annual coal consumption, said the New York Times, which first reported the changes.