China has been underreporting its coal consumption for years, experts said, following reports that official statistics have been revised upwards by hundreds of millions of tons a year.
The country’s National Bureau of Statistics raised the figures for coal consumption in previous years by as much as 17 percent in its most recent yearbook, Agence France-Presse said, citing a New York Times report.
For 2012 alone, the increase was 600 million tons, the newspaper said, or more than 70 percent of the United States’ annual coal consumption.
This implies that China’s annual emissions of greenhouse gas had been underestimated by more than Germany’s total yearly output, the report said.
The development comes ahead of a United Nations climate summit in Paris, which will seek to achieve a legally binding agreement on tackling climate change.
China’s statistics bureau did not immediately confirm the revisions to AFP, and the figures from its energy statistical yearbook are not available on its website.
But at a coal conference in Beijing, Zhou Fengqi, an adviser to the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top planning body, told AFP: “The new figures are more accurate than before.”
The data has depended on incomplete provincial statistics, he said.
“We always felt there was a gap between the National Coal Association’s statistics and the National Bureau of Statistics figures. Now the national figures have progressed, and more accurately reflect the situation.”
A shift towards a more environment-friendly development is China’s “duty and contribution to humanity” as one of the world’s largest countries, Premier Li Keqiang said this week during a visit by French President Francois Hollande.
China has pledged that its carbon dioxide emissions will peak by “around 2030″.
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