Back in 2005 it was clear to a number of observers that China’s trailing rate of coal consumption was so strong, that its demand was on course to double by the end of the decade. As of 2010, this is precisely what’s happened. From a jump between 2002-2003, around 850 Mtoe (million tonnes oil equivalent), China is now consuming 1713.5 Mtoe as of last year, according to the BP Statistical Review - (click chart to expand).
It only took China 7-8 years to achieve this great doubling. While the sustainability of this rate of growth is certainly in doubt, it bears mentioning that last year a number of global coal producers increased production to help China meet its needs. Indonesia, in particular, raised its production of coal by an almost insane 20% over 2009. Indeed, a number of the regions that I have previously identified as having deep, recoverable reserves raised production in 2010 by substantial margins. The global transition back to coal is fully on course, with a veritable second Age of Coal now on the horizon.