The Chinese flag flies in front of exhaust rising from a coal fired power plant in Jiayuguan, Gansu province
China is planning to build 43 new coal-fired power plants and 18 new blast furnaces — equivalent to adding about 1.5% to its current annual emissions — according to a new report.
The new projects were announced in the first half of this year despite the world’s largest polluter pledging to bring its emissions to a peak before 2030, and to make the country carbon neutral by 2060.
The news shows that at least some in China are prioritizing economic growth over emissions reductions — although some analysts say they are still optimistic that China will reach its climate targets.
“There is this desire in the Chinese political and economic system to keep on building, to continue the infrastructure fever,” says Li Shuo, a senior global policy adviser for Greenpeace in Beijing.
The report on China’s new coal plants was written by the Helsinki-based research organization the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and the U.S. group Global Energy Monitor (GEM) and released on Aug. 13.
It came just days after the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an alarming report that concluded human-caused climate change is an “unequivocal” reality. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called the IPCC report a “code red for humanity.”
China is leading the world in new coal power plants, building more than three times as much new coal power capacity as all other countries in the world combined in 2020.
It isn’t alone in its reliance on coal, however. China and four other countries, India, Indonesia, Japan and Vietnam, account for more than 80% of the coal power stations planned across the world, according to a June report by the think-tank Carbon Tracker.
But it’s not all bad news. China has pledged to reduce its energy intensity — measured by comparing total energy consumed to GDP — and its carbon intensity — the carbon-dioxide produced per dollar of GDP — by 2025. Chinese President Xi Jinping said in April the country will also reduce coal use beginning in 2026.
The gullible greens still try to convince themselves that China really is going to cut emissions eventually. They cling on to the pledge of reducing energy and carbon intensity, but they really ought to realise that this is a meaningless promise, as all maturing economies do this as they expand into consumer goods and services.
This does not mean though that energy consumption will actually decline, simply that the economy will grow faster than energy use does.
Then there is the nonsense about China being the world’s leader in renewable energy. Naturally, given the size of their economy, everything thing they do is big. But the sad reality is that wind and solar power still only contributed a paltry 4% of China’s energy last year.
As for Xi’s “promises”, we might recall that Senile Joe actually believed the Taliban.
The report reckons that these new coal plants and blast furnaces will add 150 million tonnes to China’s CO2 emissions. This is roughly half the UK’s total emissions.