China Snubs Climate Pledges, Building More New Coal Plants Than Any Nation
Putting the pledges to reach net-zero emissions by 2060 at bay, China is still leading the world in building new coal plants, showed a major annual survey.
Global Energy Monitor’s (GEM) eighth annual survey of the world’s coal plant pipeline on Tuesday reveals that China, the world’s top greenhouse gas polluter, continued to lead all countries in the domestic development of new coal plants, commissioning more new coal capacity in 2021 than the rest of the world combined, reported Straits Times. [bold, links added]
Furthering the worries, China’s coal consumption is meant to peak in 2025. China is the world’s largest assembly of coal power plants and this building of new coal plants is posing a critical risk of climate change.
China has just over half the number of coal plants in the world and relies on them to generate about 60 percent of its electricity.
Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst for research organization Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which contributed to GEM’s report said, “The power industry’s plan, which appears to have [Chinese] government backing, at least for now, is for coal power capacity to increase until 2030. So new plants are adding more capacity, not just replacing retirements. Last year saw retirements, in fact, slow down.”
By the end of 2021, a total of 176 GW of coal capacity was under construction in 20 countries, which is slightly less than in 2020.
China represented more than half (52 percent) of that capacity, and countries in South Asia and Southeast Asia made up a total of 37 percent.
Flora Champenois from GEM said, “The coal plant pipeline is shrinking, but there is simply no carbon budget left to be building new coal plants. We need to stop, now.”
The report also found that total coal power capacity under development declined 13 percent last year.
Moreover, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, some countries are delaying coal plant retirements as they scramble for energy supplies to keep the lights on.
According to the analysts, this move might temporarily set back global efforts to phase out coal, though soaring coal prices might also prompt some nations to speed up investment in green energy.
h/t Steve W.
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