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Global Energy Use Advances at Fastest Pace Since 1973, BP Says

Energy consumption worldwide advanced at the fastest pace since 1973, driving greenhouse-gas emissions to a record and increasing the threat of climate change, BP Plc said in an annual report.

Use of energy rose 5.6 percent in 2010, rebounding from the recession’s drag on demand, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy report for 2011, released today. Increases in fossil-fuel consumption, which included a 10 percent jump in use of coal by China to a record 1.7 billion metric tons of oil equivalent, pushed emissions growth to its biggest jump since 1969, BP said.

Global carbon emissions from electricity generation climbed to a record last year as growth accelerated in emerging economies, the International Energy Agency said May 31. Use of fossil fuels may drive temperatures beyond a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) limit sought in United Nations-overseen climate-protection talks, the agency said.

“The general picture of strong energy growth translates into bad news for carbon emissions,” Christof Ruehl, BP’s chief economist, said at a London presentation of the report. “With coal consumption growing at the highest rate among fossil fuels, global CO2 emissions from energy measured by standard conversion rates grew by 5.8 percent in 2010.”

Oil consumption rose 3.1 percent to 4 billion tons, or 87.38 million barrels a day, as reserves advanced 0.5 percent to 1.3832 trillion barrels at the end of last year from a revised 1.3766 trillion in 2009, BP said. India’s deposits climbed 55 percent to 9 billion barrels.

Saudi Arabia’s reserves were the largest, at 264.5 billion barrels, little changed from 2009. The Middle East had 54.4 percent of total oil deposits, down from 2009’s 56.6 percent.

Coal Consumption

China, the U.S. and the European Union all boosted their consumption of coal, as global use of the most plentiful fossil fuel advanced 7.6 percent to 3.6 billion tons of oil equivalent. China increased its use of the dirtiest fuel in terms of greenhouse gases by 10 percent to 1.7 billion tons.

U.S. coal use advanced by 5.7 percent, while EU consumption rose 3.8 percent. Global coal reserves rose 4.2 percent to 860.9 billion tons, enough to meet consumption for 118 years. At the end of 2009, the reserves-to-production ratio was 119 years.

Germany’s proved coal reserves were six times higher at the end of last year compared with 2009, BP said, citing World Energy Council statistics. The country’s coal deposits were 40.7 billion tons, compared with 6.7 billion tons a year earlier.

Asia Gas Demand

Natural-gas consumption advanced 7.4 percent to 2.9 billion tons of oil equivalent, driven by a 13 percent jump in the Asia-Pacific region.

The U.S. increased its use of renewable energy other than nuclear and hydroelectric generation by more than China last year, BP said, reporting the data for the first time. U.S. consumption of renewable energy increased by 5.5 million tons of oil equivalent, while use in China jumped by 5.2 million tons.

China’s use of renewables, which rose from a lower base, jumped 75 percent to 12.1 million tons, compared with 2009. U.S. use of renewables advanced 16 percent to 39.1 million tons.

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