OPINION: “Whether China can free itself from its decades-old addiction to coal will determine not just its own environmental future, but also—and more crucially—Earth’s prospects in the face of the gathering climate crisis.”
Pressured by a slowing economy, internal dissent and trade disputes with the West, China is rapidly building coal-fired plants when it should be dismantling...
Whether China can free itself from its decades-old addiction to coal will determine not just its own environmental future, but also—and more crucially—Earth’s prospects in the face of the gathering climate crisis.China’s leaders began to recognize the need for change in the early 2000s. The largely coal-fueled “economic growth at all costs” policy had brought great prosperity, but the collateral damage to the country’s air and water had grown unacceptably high. Environmental advocates called for “building an ecological civilization,” in which nature and humankind would find a harmonious balance. And when President Xi Jinping assumed power in 2012, he immediately took up the cause.
Momentum lost In quick succession, the Chinese government declared a “war on pollution,” drew up separate air, water, and soil action plans committing $1 trillion to environmental cleanup, closed inefficient coal plants, and invested hundreds of billions of dollars in renewable-energy development. It also made domestic manufacture and sales of electric vehicles a high priority, and devised a nationwide carbon-trading system.
“ Limiting global warming to well below a “catastrophic” 2°C will require China to close 600 of its 1,082 coal plants by 2030. China had better start turning its massive carbon ship around now. ”Worryingly for China and the planet, that forward momentum now appears to have shifted into reverse. Coal consumption, which had decreased each year between 2014 and 2016, has since risen steadily. The same is true of carbon-dioxide emissions, which increased by 1.5%-1.7% even during the pandemic-induced slowdown in 2020. headtopics.com
China must do better. The 2019 United Nations Emissions Gap Report concluded that limiting global warming to 1.5° Celsius relative to preindustrial levels requires reducing global emissions by 55% from 2018 levels by 2030. But China added 38.4 gigawatts of new coal-fired power capacity in 2020, even as the rest of the world reduced its net capacity by 17.2 GW.
Worse, this increase is only the beginning. The Chinese government has approved construction of an additional 36.9 GW of coal-fired power capacity, bringing the total under construction today to 88 GW. And proposals to build another 158.7 GW are in the pipeline, putting the total new capacity now under consideration at 247 GW—more than the United States’ total installed amount of 233.6 GW.
“ All new fossil-fuel development should be halted this year if the world is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and have any hope of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5°C. ” — International Energy Agency There are probably more plants to come. Powerful coal and energy industry groups are pushing the government to increase China’s current total coal-power capacity of 1,080 GW to 1,200-1,300 GW over the next five years, and to as much as 1,400 GW by 2035. A Global Energy Monitor (GEM) report concludes that if China continues to expand capacity through 2035 as proposed, “its coal-power generation alone will be more than three times as large as the global limit on coal-power use determined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to keep global warming well below 2°C.”
Why China backtracked What explains China’s apparent return to its coal-addicted ways?For starters, the protests in Hong Kong, the trade war with the U.S., and the coronavirus pandemic have shifted policy makers’ focus away from environmental reform. So, too, has the slowdown in China’s GDP growth and the rise in unemployment. The government has been more interested in stimulating traditional, energy-intensive industries such as steel, iron, and cement, while provincial leaders have embarked on a spree of construction of coal-fired power plants. headtopics.com
Furthermore, the recent U.S.-China trade war has heightened Chinese concerns about energy security, given that the country imports 70% of its oil needs and 40% of its gas requirements. And while China has gone all in on renewable energy, especially solar and wind, it cannot scale up these sources quickly enough to meet anticipated demand. Nor is the current electricity grid capable of transmitting this energy efficiently from China’s distant west, where most of it is produced, to high-demand areas. Coal—abundant and relatively inexpensive—seems to many a reliable, tried-and-true energy source.
Finally, it is probably not a coincidence that China’s “coal relapse” came at a time when the U.S. was absent from the international climate scene. Whereas former President Barack Obama and Xi found common ground in the battle against global warming, setting the stage for the 2015 Paris climate agreement, U.S. disengagement from the issue under President Donald Trump probably weakened China’s commitment, too.
Which China will the world see in the next several years? That question is more urgent than ever in light of a recent International Energy Agency report warning that all new fossil-fuel development should be halted this year if the world is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and have any hope of limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5°C.
Xi’s announcement in September 2020 that China aims to become carbon neutral by 2060 revived optimism. But hopes that the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), released this March, would outline the government’s strategy for starting the decarbonization process were disappointed. headtopics.com
And at President Joe Biden’s climate summit in April, Xi announced that during the new Five-Year Plan, China would “strictly control” coal-fired power consumption but allow it to increase, and “phase it down” only from 2026.This is a recklessly unambitious timetable. Climate experts at GEM, TransitionZero, and elsewhere calculate that limiting global warming to well below a “catastrophic” 2°C will require China to close 600 of its 1,082 coal plants by 2030. If they are right, China had better start turning its massive carbon ship around now.
Daniel K. Gardner, co-organizer of the China Environmental Group at Princeton University’s High Meadows Environmental Institute, is professor emeritus of Chinese history and environment at Smith College, and the author of numerous books on China, including “Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction” and “Environmental Pollution in China: What Everyone Needs to Know.”
This commentary was published with permission of Project Syndicate — Will China Kick Its Coal Habit?More on climate change & the economy This tool helps measure how climate friendly your 401(k) is — and dings Amazon.com for its fund offeringsClimate risk is hitting home for state and local governmentsRead more: MarketWatch »
Met Gala Photos 2021: Red Carpet Arrivals
The Met Gala makes its dazzling return, offering a landscape of lavish red carpet looks we’ve come to expect on one of fashion’s biggest nights. Co-chairs of the evening are Timothée Ch…
If only Canada could get it’s natural gas to the west coast, then China could convert those coal plant . . . . . Because they get it dirt cheap from South Africa It’s been a Bull Run in Crypto for the last 2 Weeks. Bitcoin is up to 44k and ethereum is above 3.2k. Let’s go. And I got AMC at $11. Let’s make money
These f❤️kin SCAM NIGERIAN All that manufacturing to fill up shelves in Walmart and Target that Americans cheerfully buy but want them to reduce electricity usage. 🙄 You’re confusing “can’t” with not caring. Entirely different this is terrible news Not sure why people think burning coal is bad. It’s a reusable resource and natural, making it good for the air
Death toll triples to more than 300 in recent China floodingChinese authorities announce large jump in the death toll from recent floods. The Henan provincial government says that 302 people have died and 50 remain missing. They probably were unvaccinated.... damn Covid at it again MovingForward:United byEmotion KeepBrightmind: KeepHygienic-Fresh-Healthy; GoGreen&GoAirClean. Fathonie Abdullah (Fathonie AG or Thonie AG) Twitter: AG_Thonie Thonie_AG_News News_Thonie_AG Thonie_Top_News World_Top_News1 FREE TIBET
Death toll jumps to more than 300 in recent China floodingBEIJING (AP) — More than 300 people died in recent flooding in central China, authorities said Monday, three times the previously announced toll. The Henan provincial government said 302 people died and 50 remain missing. TigrayGenocide HumeraMassacre AbiyAhmedAliToICC TigrayGenocide HumeraMassacre in Ethiopia by AbiyAhmedAli Soldiers And AmharaMilitia Considering the underreported COVID19 WuhanCovidLabLeak numbers from the CCP, odds that this is accurately reported? 3%? 5%
A Cash-Strapped Corner of China Finds a Financial Tonic—Hard LiquorThe rise of China’s biggest liquor company, Kweichow Moutai, has been a gift for the indebted province that is the company’s majority shareholder. “There is a lot of pressure to share the joy in Guizhou,” says one analyst. good luck So the local gov'ts have to create businesses to have governing funds? And so they encourage their citizens to drink for taxes? so weird.
China securities watchdog seeks closer cooperation with U.S.China's securities regulator said on Sunday it will seek closer cooperation with its U.S. counterpart and will support overseas listings, after U.S. regulators tightened disclosure for Chinese companies and voiced concern about Beijing's regulatory actions. Too late. Open the wuhan lab first
China new home price growth slows in July - private surveyChina's growth in new home prices slowed in July for the first time in five months, with smaller cities especially weighed down by higher mortgage rates, price caps on resale homes and other steps to cool speculation, a private-sector survey showed on Sunday. good luck No one wants to live in those anthills? Investing today will save you the stress of financial crisis tomorrow.. Live the kind of life you want today by investing and trading Bitcoin option. Trade with a professional trader and start making good profits today. lisaCammpbell for transparency and trust.
Kamala Harris will visit Singapore and Vietnam as the White House continues to challenge ChinaThe vice president's second trip abroad comes as the Biden administration makes countering China's growing global influence a top priority. Who cares about the BidenBorderCrisis huh KamalaHarris Snooping around China like a timid and petrified mouse hmm! tiny America trying to bring down mighty china. I’ve heard military people say wars are won on the ground. Nazi Germany had a superior military but the Russians and Allies just overran them. China has a larger standing army than America so we have to play the nuclear card.