China overtakes US as world’s biggest energy consumer

The LED screen at The Place shopping mall in Beijing, China.

Declarations of love do not get much more highly charged than the one Zhao Xiuxia received from her husband recently on an LED screen bigger than a football pitch.

“Dear wife, I adore you. You work so hard for our family. Let’s struggle together for a better life,” scrolled the giant letters on an electronic ceiling above one of Beijing’s glitziest new shopping centres. As well as being a message of devotion, the mobile phone text message – magnified by 5m pixels – highlights the dramatic increase in the wattage of China‘s economy. The giant 250 metre-long screen at The Place retail centre is one of the most conspicuous symbols of an increasingly affluent and energy-hungry nation, which was said last week to have overtaken the United States as the biggest consumer of energy in the world.

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