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Decline in China's coal consumption: An evidence of peak coal or a temporary blip?


  • Wang, Qiang
  • Li, Rongrong


Chinese coal consumption declined 3.7% year on year in 2015. Is this evidence of China's “coal peak” or a temporary blip? In this paper, we use a time series model to explore if further China's coal consumption will be higher or lower than the level of 2014. Before the modeling, we undertake a comprehensive analysis of data reliability, because problems with the accuracy of Chinese data have posed the main challenge to calculating its energy use. Our results show that annual Chinese coal consumption during 2016–2020 will be lower than the level of 2014 if the annual average GDP growth rate is less than 8.2%/year. Given that Chinese economy has been adapting to a “new normal” (slower but higher-quality economic growth) since 2014, and GDP growth target of at least 6.5% during 2016–2020 set by 13th Five Year Plan, we conclude that Chinese coal consumption peaked in 2014, which could translate into a big change in the global coal consumption and carbon emission.

Suggested Citation

  • Wang, Qiang & Li, Rongrong, 2017. "Decline in China's coal consumption: An evidence of peak coal or a temporary blip?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 696-701.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:696-701
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2017.06.041

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Wang, Ce & Li, Bing-Bing & Liang, Qiao-Mei & Wang, Jin-Cheng, 2018. "Has China’s coal consumption already peaked? A demand-side analysis based on hybrid prediction models," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 162(C), pages 272-281.
    2. Xin-gang, Zhao & Ling, Wu & Ying, Zhou, 2020. "How to achieve incentive regulation under renewable portfolio standards and carbon tax policy? A China's power market perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    3. Xu, Bin & Lin, Boqiang, 2019. "Can expanding natural gas consumption reduce China's CO2 emissions?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 393-407.
    4. Pruethsan Sutthichaimethee & Kuskana Kubaha, 2018. "The Efficiency of Long-Term Forecasting Model on Final Energy Consumption in Thailand’s Petroleum Industries Sector: Enriching the LT-ARIMAXS Model under a Sustainability Policy," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(8), pages 1-18, August.
    5. Xu, Jiuping & Huang, Qian & Lv, Chengwei & Feng, Qing & Wang, Fengjuan, 2018. "Carbon emissions reductions oriented dynamic equilibrium strategy using biomass-coal co-firing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 184-197.
    6. Shasha Wang & Rongrong Li, 2018. "Toward the Coordinated Sustainable Development of Urban Water Resource Use and Economic Growth: An Empirical Analysis of Tianjin City, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(5), pages 1-13, April.
    7. Wang, Qiang & Li, Rongrong & He, Gang, 2018. "Research status of nuclear power: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 90-96.
    8. Feng Jiang & Xue Yang & Shuyu Li, 2018. "Comparison of Forecasting India’s Energy Demand Using an MGM, ARIMA Model, MGM-ARIMA Model, and BP Neural Network Model," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(7), pages 1-17, June.
    9. Qiao, Hui & Chen, Siyu & Dong, Xiucheng & Dong, Kangyin, 2019. "Has China's coal consumption actually reached its peak? National and regional analysis considering cross-sectional dependence and heterogeneity," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(C).
    10. Hao, Xiaoli & Deng, Feng, 2019. "The marginal and double threshold effects of regional innovation on energy consumption structure: Evidence from resource-based regions in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 144-154.
    11. Xu, Bin & Lin, Boqiang, 2018. "Assessing the development of China's new energy industry," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 116-131.
    12. Wang, Qiang & Song, Xiaoxin, 2019. "Forecasting China's oil consumption: A comparison of novel nonlinear-dynamic grey model (GM), linear GM, nonlinear GM and metabolism GM," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 183(C), pages 160-171.
    13. Chai, Jian & Du, Mengfan & Liang, Ting & Sun, Xiaojie Christine & Yu, Ji & Zhang, Zhe George, 2019. "Coal consumption in China: How to bend down the curve?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 38-47.
    14. Xingyu Zhang & Liang Chen & Yubing Gao & Jinzhu Hu & Jun Yang & Manchao He, 2019. "Study of An Innovative Approach of Roof Presplitting for Gob-Side Entry Retaining in Longwall Coal Mining," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(17), pages 1-16, August.
    15. Cardoso, Andrea & Turhan, Ethemcan, 2018. "Examining new geographies of coal: Dissenting energyscapes in Colombia and Turkey," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 224(C), pages 398-408.
    16. Rui Jiang & Yulin Zhou & Rongrong Li, 2018. "Moving to a Low-Carbon Economy in China: Decoupling and Decomposition Analysis of Emission and Economy from a Sector Perspective," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(4), pages 1-12, March.
    17. Dong, Changgui & Qi, Ye & Dong, Wenjuan & Lu, Xi & Liu, Tianle & Qian, Shuai, 2018. "Decomposing driving factors for wind curtailment under economic new normal in China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 217(C), pages 178-188.

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    Peak coal; Five-year-plan; Time-series model;


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