Total global coal production increased by 6.6 per cent in 2011, its 12th consecutive year of growth.

China overtook Japan as the world’s largest importer and Indonesia overtook Australia as the biggest global exporter.

Meanwhile, global natural gas consumption increased by 2.1 per cent in 2011, a significantly smaller increase than the 7.2 per cent leap in 2010.

The figures come from the International Energy Agency, which also found that the share of renewables in the total primary energy supply increased to 8.2 per cent in OECD countries in 2011, compared to 7.8 per cent in 2010.

The IEA found that the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March 2011 resulted in electricity production in OECD countries dropping by 0.9 per cent in 2011, with nuclear electricity production falling 65 in Japan and 23 per cent in Germany, which initiated a withdrawal from atomic energy.

Meanwhile, the IEA’s Deputy Executive Director Richard H. Jones has said that the way power is produced and consumed must change if the world is to respond to energy security challenges.

He stressed there is no single solution that will combat climate change and address all of today’s other energy challenges.

“There is no one magic bullet. There is no one technology you need, because the world is different in different places. In some places solar is great because the sun shines all the time… in some places it’s really windy all the time, and that’s great for wind power. In other places the wind is too variable or the winds aren’t strong enough. You’ve got to do a real cradle to grave analysis,” he said.