You know the old complaint: Global “climate change” (née “global warming,” née “global cooling”) is being caused by the U.S.’ insatiable appetite for fossil fuel-powered energy.

But here’s the thing: As far as coal consumption is concerned, China leads the way. From the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA):

China Is Buying & Consuming More Coal Than Any Other Country

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics.

“Coal consumption in China grew more than 9% in 2011, continuing its upward trend for the 12th consecutive year,” the EIA reports.

“China’s coal use grew by 325 million tons in 2011, accounting for 87% of the 374 million ton global increase in coal use. Of the 2.9 billion tons of global coal demand growth since 2000, China accounted for 2.3 billion tons (82%). China now accounts for 47% of global coal consumption — almost as much as the entire rest of the world combined,” the report adds.

In short, China burns through more coal than any one nation, meaning that if anyone is responsible for global pollution via coal consumption, it’s certainly not the U.S.

But the left’s bogus reasoning for why we should dismantle the U.S. coal industry aside, what’s the explanation behind China’s interest in the fossil fuel?

Simple: It’s cheap.

“Robust coal demand growth in China is the result of a more than 200% increase in Chinese electric generation since 2000, fueled primarily by coal. China’s coal demand growth averaged 9% per year from 2000 to 2010,” the report adds, “more than double the global growth rate of 4% and significantly higher than global growth excluding China, which averaged only 1%.”

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Featured image courtesy Getty Images.