CHINA has passed the US to become the world's biggest energy consumer, according to new data from the International Energy Agency.
The milestone reflects both China's decades-long burst of economic growth and its rapidly expanding clout as an industrial giant.
China's ascent marks “a new age in the history of energy”, IEA chief economist Fatih Birol said. The country's surging appetite has transformed global energy markets and propped up prices of oil and coal in recent years, and its continued growth stands to have long-term implications for US energy security.
The Paris-based IEA, energy adviser to most of the world's biggest economies, said China consumed 2.25 billion tons of oil equivalent last year, about 4 per cent more than the US, which burned through 2.17bn tons of oil equivalent. The oil-equivalent metric represents all forms of energy consumed, including crude oil, nuclear power, coal, natural gas and renewable sources such as hydropower.