China 'leapfrogs US to become biggest energy user'

Oilfield in Taklamakan Desert in China's western Xinjiang region China has experienced rapid economic growth in the last 20 years

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China has overtaken the United States to become the world's top energy consumer for the first time, a new report says.

Provisional figures from the International Energy Agency indicate that China's energy demand has doubled in a decade.

The IEA said China had taken first place because it was hit less hard than the US by the global financial crisis.

China challenged the report's findings, saying its figures were unreliable.

The US has been the biggest consumer of energy for more than 100 years. But China's rapid economic growth in the past two decades has pushed it into top spot, according to Tuesday's report.

The surge in demand for energy in China was further fuelled by its rising population.

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