I thought it would be interesting to graph GDP against a metric of per capita energy use (in this case kWh/capita).
(Click on the chart to see a larger version.)
There are a number of interesting things to note about this chart. First, compared to the other countries shown, the United States has a really high GDP. Counting countries individually (sometimes the European Union is counted as one entity), the USA has the highest GDP, then Japan, then China. In general, the chart indicates that as a country’s GDP increases, so does kWh/capita. If we also take the size of the population into account, this is one reason many people are increasingly concerned about the potential effects of economic growth in India and China on climate change. Exceptions on the chart seem to generally be very cold countries (Canada, Sweden, and Russia) or very hot countries (Australia and Saudi Arabia).
In the chart above, the data comes from Key World Energy Statistics 2009, put out by the International Energy Agency (data is for 2007).
Electricity consumption is calculated for the entire country as gross production + imports – exports – transmission/distribution losses. It is then divided by the population of the country to get the per capita value.
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