It’s come to light that China has been burning up to 17 percent more coal than its Government has previously claimed — pumping up to 1 billion more tons of carbon than expected into the atmosphere every year.

The figures, which come ahead of the international climate talks to be held in Paris at the start of December, appear in a a new energy statistics yearbook published by China’s statistical agency, reports the New York Times. They reveal that the quantities of coal being burned in the country have been underestimated since 2000.

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For a little context, the 17 percent equates to an extra 600 million tons of coal being burned in China during 2012. That’s about 70 percent of the total amount amount of coal used by the U.S. in a single year, and the resulting increase in emissions is greater than the total carbon production from fossil fuels across the whole of Germany over the same period.

China has previously committed to halting the growth in its carbon emissions by 2030. According to experts interviewed by the the New York Times, the new figures suggest that he peak may be higher than anticipated, but could also occur sooner.

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Sooner still the news will ruffle feathers during the forthcoming climate talks in Paris. In the past, China’s taken bullish attitude to climate discussions, though this officials admitted that the country has a “duty to humanity” to clean itself up. How this news will affect its approach and the reaction from other nations at the climate talks remains to be seen.

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[NYT via Verge]

Image by AP