Few words are needed. A couple of graphs tell the story.
Coal fuelled electricity production is up 800 TWh since 2014, about four times the annual output of Australia’s entire grid. The increase is also roughly equal to 25% of annual production in the US.
Over that five years, China has moved from being broadly equal to the US in terms of production to having around 60% more electricity consumption than the US. Per capita China consumption is, however, 37% of the US.
The increase in thermal production in recent months in China is due to a decline in Hydro. Nuclear, wind and solar are all well up year on year but thermal’s share of generation is stuck at 70%.
The growth in electricity consumption has come because China has reverted to growing its secondary industry economy (ie heavy, energy intensive products). Here are some selected stats:
Asia was already by far the dominant geographic source of carbon emission growth.
Of course, it’s unfair to blame Asia in many ways because it is just trying to move its people up the world standard of living, but the simple truth is that neither the Asian people nor the rest of the world can afford the incremental damage that will have to be paid for by several generations of people at a minimum.
We are moving to an apocalyptic future but not as the movies would have it. There will be no space invasion, just the simple neglect and unwillingness to adapt at the required pace.
The chart below, already a year out of date puts it most obviously.
David Leitch is a regular contributor to Renew Economy. He is principal at ITK, specialising in analysis of electricity, gas and decarbonisation drawn from 33 years experience in stockbroking research & analysis for UBS, JPMorgan and predecessor firms.