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The People's Republic of China is the largest consumer of coal in the world, and is about to become the largest user of coal-derived electricity, generating 1.95 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, or 68.7% of its electricity from coal as of 2006 (compared to 1.99 trillion kilowatt-hours per year, or 49% for the US). Hydroelectric power supplied another 20.7% of China's electricity needs in 2006.
China's coal mining industry is the largest and also deadliest in the world in terms of human safety where thousands of people die every year in the coal pits, compared to 30 per year for coal power in the United States. Coal production rose 8.1% in 2006 over the previous year, reaching 2.38 billion tons, and the nation's largest coal enterprises saw their profits exceed 67 billion yuan, or $8.75 billion.
In cities the domestic burning of coal is no longer permitted. In rural areas coal is still permitted to be used Chinese households, commonly burned raw in unvented stoves. This fills houses with high levels of toxic metals leading to bad Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). In addition, people eat food cooked over coal fires which contains toxic substances. Toxic substances from coal burning include arsenic, fluorine, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and mercury. Health issues are caused which include severe arsenic poisoning, skeletal fluorosis (over 10 million people afflicted in China), esophageal and lung cancers, and selenium poisoning.
Demand for coal in China continues to increase, and it is estimated that it will be around 3.06 billion tons in 2010. Furthermore, it is expected that demand will soon exceed production due to factors such as a government crackdown on mines that are unsafe, polluting, or wasteful. Some were shut down for the 2008 Summer Olympics.