The International Energy Agency is defending its estimate of China’s energy use.
Beijing had questioned the IEA’s claim that China overtook the US as the world’s largest energy consumer last year.
The agency said it includes things not listed in government consumption estimates such as “traditional biomass” used in rural areas.
That is burning wood for cooking and methane gas produced from animal manure.
“We know what the difference is. It’s about the coverage of data for energy consumption. Our energy consumption covers so-called conventional traditional biomass, mostly in rural areas,” he told a news conference in Beijing to present the findings of the IEA’s latest World Energy Outlook.
“China is not including that part of energy consumption. So it makes a difference of 4-5 percent,” he said.
China’s rising appetite for oil, coal and other fossil fuels, as well as other sources of energy, meant it would soon claim the top energy consumer spot, if it had not already, said Tanaka.
“Maybe if not 2009, then it is 2010, this year, or next year at the latest. But it doesn’t make much difference if it’s a year or two.”