China’s Climate Pledges At Odds With Soaring Coal Plant Approvals: Report
China last year approved the largest expansion of coal-fired power plants since 2015, according to a study published Monday (Feb 27), despite its vow to begin phasing down the use of the fossil fuel in just three years.
The coal power capacity that China began building in 2022 was six times as much as that in the rest of the world combined, the report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) in Finland and the Global Energy Monitor (GEM) added. [emphasis, links added]
“China continues to be the glaring exception to the ongoing global decline in coal plant development,” GEM research analyst Flora Champenois said.
“The speed at which projects progressed through permitting to construction in 2022 was extraordinary.”
China is one of the world’s biggest emitters of the greenhouse gases driving climate change, such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
President Xi Jinping has pledged that China will peak its CO2 emissions between 2026 to 2030 and reduce them to net zero by 2060, moves seen as essential for keeping global temperature rise well below two degrees Celsius.
The report warned that even if Beijing sticks to those commitments, the current coal power expansion will make meeting them “more complicated and costly”.
A total of 106 GW of new coal power projects were approved in 2022 – the equivalent of two large coal plants per week – it said.
Plants accounting for around a third of that capacity have already begun construction, with some gaining permits, securing financing, and breaking ground “within a matter of months”.
China relies on coal for nearly 60 percent of its electricity.
Most of the new coal projects have been approved in provinces hit by crippling electricity shortages due to record heatwaves in the last two years.
Read rest at AFP
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