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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 19:41 GMT 20:41 UK
Role for coal 'continues to soar'
The La Rance tidal barrage near St Malo in Brittany
Renewables account for just 1% of world energy production
World energy use is becoming more carbon intensive - as the popularity of coal power in developing nations continues to soar, a BP report says.

While coal consumption in China and India rocketed last year, it was also up in the UK, though down in the US.

Overall energy consumption growth slowed last year to 2.4% - but was still above average for the past decade, the figures suggested.

This was against a 3.4% growth seen in 2005, the global trends survey said.

Overall coal usage climbed by 4.5%, driven largely by China's 8.7% rise.

Burning coal is one of the major causes of CO2 emissions - prompting analysts to predict that China's emissions will top those of the US during 2007.

Earlier this month, China unveiled its first national plan for climate change, saying it was intent on tackling the problem but not at the expense of economic development.

Modest impact

The high cost of fuel was behind the overall slow down in the growth of energy use, said BP's chief economist designate, Christof Ruhl.

"Last year showed markets at work," he said.

"Primary energy consumption growth has decelerated - particularly for fuels which have seen the highest increase in price."

The impact of prices was most pronounced in the oil market, with consumption falling by 400,000 barrels a day among members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Prices had peaked at more than $78 a barrel in July 2006.

Gas consumption rose by 2.5%, fuelled largely by demand in Russia and China, offsetting declines in the US and Europe.

Nuclear power output rose by 1.4% last year, primarily because of the increased size of power plants.

And while the growth in wind and solar power continued in 2006, it continued to make just a modest impact.

The report said that despite a 25% increase in wind power capacity, it was responsible for less than 1% of electricity production worldwide, with solar power making an even smaller contribution.

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