Visualising the energy-transition II – What about China?

In the previous post we saw a 3D-visualisation of the energy-consumption in five large countries. The shape of the buildings showed the composition of the energy-mix and the different dimensions could be compared within a country, but also between countries.

Now something was unfair about this representation as not all countries have the same number of inhabitants. This time we will show the consumption “per capita”. On average, that is, and at the same time we have to admit that it’s still not completely fair. Why? I will explain below.

Power Station

Photo by stevepb at Pixabay

The graph has the same structure as it had the last time, only this time it shows toe/person. A toe – 1 toe is about 42 GigaJoule or nearly 12 MWh, but the toe (tonne of oil equivalent) is trivial as GJ (GigaJoule) or MWh (MegaWatt-hours) would have provided the same graph anyway, using a slightly different scaling factor in the parameter-line of the input-file.

Again the height of the buildings represents renewables like solar, wind and hydro plus biofuels & waste, but the latter are shown in green.

The width shows nuclear energy and

the depth visualises the total fossil fuel consumption (mainly coal, oil and gas) by an inhabitant (again: on average).

This information is also available in the 3D-legend (3D-key), hovering in front of the graph. Energy carriers, like electricity, steam and hydrogen are not shown as they are not primary sources. Trade is also ignored. Again the data have been obtained from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Below a clickable screenshot-collage is shown. It shows the front, top and side-view of the actual 3D-graph behind the link. Comparing the energy-consumption per individual, the picture is completely different. In 2015 the average Chinese individual consumes more or less the same amount of fossil fuels as the EU, but the average American still consumes twice as much.

screeshots from 3D-graph

Double-click the screenshot to see the live 3D-graph in your browser. For manipulation: Clicking the right mouse-button, moving the mouse up and down will zoom the graph in and out. Clicking left and moving the mouse will tilt the graph in different directions (or move the observer’s viewpoint around a fixed graph – it’s relative of course). Double clicking in the graph translates it and moves the centre at the same time. As a result the way the graph tilts will change. Just try it. If you don’t know how to get the normal position back, just refresh the graph.

We can complain China as a country is using such a large amount of fossil fuel, but the average Chinese is close to the consumption-level in the EU and far below the USA.

Then there is something more. We all know China has a lot of industry and a lot of their products are actually used by us, Western consumers in EU and US. This means it would only be fair to count the energy-consumption related to the exported goods as a part of the consumption of the country receiving those goods. From this point of view, the real average consumption of energy by an inhabitant of the People’s Republic of China would even be lower and for the EU and US it would increase! This poses the question: “are we treating China unfairly when it comes down to energy-consumption?”

DragonPhoto by ractapopulous on Pixabay

For more information about the generator of 3D-graphs, please have a look at our website and download  the free 3D-graph generator package (zip). It  can be unpacked in a folder and the .jar file (the 3D-graph generator) can be started immediately. For a better understanding of the generator we have a couple of short movies at our youtube-channel.

Our email-address is and you can follow is on Twitter: @AnRep3D

About AnRep3D

AnRep3D is the new company, founded after the handover of Scientassist (together with VRBI) to one of my sons. From now I will focus on three-dimensional graphs for the financial markets, showing the main figures from annual reports in comparison. As per 2021 a second product is available: EnRep3D. It is meant to visualise energy. Although the engine is the same, the texts, manual, website and examples (including blogposts) are focused at energy.
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1 Response to Visualising the energy-transition II – What about China?

  1. Pingback: A large balloon of CO2, attached to every smartphone – Energy represented in 3D-graphs

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