WASHINGTON, May 14 (UPI) -- China consumes almost as much coal per year as the rest of the world combined, data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration show Wednesday.
EIA said Chinese coal production and consumption increased for the 13th year in a row in 2012, the last full year for which data are available.
China, EIA said, consumes about 49 percent of the coal produced globally, besting the No. 2 consumer, the United States, which consumes about 11 percent of the world's total coal.
EIA said Wednesday coal is fueling the Chinese economy. Gross domestic product in 2012 grew 7.7 percent, though that growth rate followed a decade of 10 percent expansion that ended in 2011.
In terms of production, EIA said China is "by far the world's largest producer," accounting for 46 percent of the coal produced globally.
"China produced nearly four times as much coal as the second largest producer, the United States, which had a 12 percent share of global production," EIA said. "China has accounted for 69 percent of the 3.2 billion ton increase in global coal production over the past 10 years."
In February, the World Wildlife Fund said China could still thrive economically while removing coal from its power mix.