Xi took the highly unusual step, for him, of meeting with international journalists, during which he repeated the slogan that he is committed to "open, clean and green development. 2 emitter of GHG, though its emissions are about half those of China, which released the equivalent of 10 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere in 2018, according to the Global Carbon Project, which tracks global emissions worldwide. All rights reserved. And, Cunningham says, "many are going abroad." Defense Daily subscriber and registered users, please log in here to access the content. Expanding nuclear power presents challenges as well. “China has been able to leverage their position in materials supply to capture ever greater swathes of the supply chain for products containing rare earth magnets.”. A related challenge will be reforming the electricity market. Read our COVID-19 research and news. China Shenhua is an integrated energy company that operates primarily through its coal division. Wired may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The path forward is clear, but whether Chinese officials can strike a balance between economic imperatives and solutions to a mounting climate emergency is not. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. "[It's] much better for my health.". The forum, attended by leaders and delegates of nearly 40 countries, came amid growing criticism of China's projects, including their effect on the environment. Coal is both the biggest challenge and an opportunity. The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan sent ripples of concern through China, which mandated additional safety measures that made new plants more expensive. A Chinese-backed power plant under construction in 2018 in the desert in the Tharparkar district of Pakistan's southern Sindh province. At present, this seems unrealistic. To meet its climate goal as stipulated in the Paris agreement, China will need to reduce its coal power capacity by 40 percent over the next decade, according to Global Energy Monitor’s analysis. However, if one only read the China Daily, an English-language paper run by the Chinese Communist Party that targets and audience of foreigners, diplomats and tourists, one might get the impression that China is terribly concerned about global warming. Chinese President Xi Jinping said he wants his country to “achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.” It will not be an easy task for the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG). Research from a climate group said that if China were to become carbon-neutral by 2060, it could prevent 0.4 to 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit of additional global warming. © 2020 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved. China relies heavily on coal-fired power, even as the country is among the world leaders in renewable energy. This was formulated in the early 2010s as part of the largest economic stimulus programme in history, launched in response to the global financial crisis. Greenhouse gas negotiations in Madrid adjourned after two weeks without an agreement, leaving delegates to jet back home in failure. Glencore, which has an extensive coal mining business in Australia, has been concerned for some time that the worsening relations with China would lead to a crackdown on coal exports. The country has a pipeline of 147GW of coal … There's only one climate ... and we're obviously all carbon constrained.". The centrally planned Chinese economy expects to add 290 gigawatts of coal-fired power plants in the coming years, peaking at 1,230 to 1,350 gigawatts of power. “This is all despite significant overcapacity in the sector,” with plants running at less than 50% of capacity and many coal-power companies losing money, the study said. China is working on building additional nuclear power plants, and many could be completed by 2060— enough to replace coal, in combination with the wind and solar power plants it is developing, which need more transmission lines for the electricity to be delivered to population centers. “It is certainly feasible in 40 years,” said Edesess, who also is managing partner / special advisor at M1K LLC. China emits about three times as much CO2 as the EU; several EU member states already have pledged to end coal-fired power generation, including Germany and Spain. Jury duty for global warming: citizen groups help solve the puzzle of climate action, India’s COVID-19 cases have declined rapidly—but herd immunity is still far away, scientists say, U.S. cities struggling to meet lofty climate goals, United Kingdom lights up its unusual fusion reactor. China is involved in 15 coal power plants in operation, six under construction and at least two in the planning stages, according to Nguyen Thi Hang with Hanoi-based environmental group Green Innovation and Development Centre. “It would mean huge expansions of nuclear power as well as wind and solar power and high-power transmission lines, and perhaps carbon capture and storage. Several times a month, the China Daily runs an editorial cartoon bemoaning climate change while often linking it to Western capitalism. Global Energy Monitor late last year reported that China expanded its coal-fired generation capacity by almost 43 GW between January 2018 and June 2019. Meanwhile, in the People’s Republic of China, coal production increased 2.6% in the first half of the year, with coal mining capacity hitting 3.53 billion tonnes in 2018, equivalent to 3,891 million short tons, or a little more than five times the coal mined in America. “We should be concerned about whether China is burning more coal in the future, but increasing its coal capacity is not equivalent to using that much coal,” Ren says. “The power sector is the part of the energy system where zero emission technologies are the most mature and economically competitive,” says Lauri Myllyvirta, an air pollution analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Helsinki. Coal accounted for 58% of China’s energy consumption last year. When the central government was the one approving each new coal plant, it could ensure that supply approximated demand. China consumes 4,319,921,826 Tons (short tons, "st") of Coal per year as of the year 2016.; China ranks 1st in the world for Coal consumption, accounting for about 379.1% of the world's total consumption of 1,139,471,430 tons. Coal accounted for 58% of China’s energy consumption last year. China, known as the world's biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change. The WIRED conversation illuminates how technology is changing every aspect of our lives—from culture to business, science to design. KLP is one of many money managers to drop investments in coal in recent years. A report in January found that more than one-quarter of coal plants under development outside China have some commitment or offer of funds from Chinese financial institutions. China’s thermal coal-derived electricity production growth has again exceeded coal production growth. Key Challenges and Opportunities Facing Residential Clean Energy for the Rest of 2020, How to Effectively Manage Power Plant Maintenance, Vistra Shuttering More Coal, Adding Solar and Storage, Leveraging the Benefits of Microgrids and DERs, Despite Dead DOE Rule, Grid Resiliency Persists as a Major Concern, Team and Individual Award Winners Recognized at Experience POWER, Decarbonization, Decentralization Driving Power Industry, coal will be critical to China’s economic recovery, Future-Proofing Gas Generation for the Coming Carbon-Free World, Cementing Coal Power Phaseout, Germany Sets Out to Shutter 40% of Current Generation Mix, Promising Power Plant Plots Province’s Future, Performance Improvements in Fossil Fuel Power Plants with Multivariable Model - Predictive Controls and Artificial Intelligence, Advantages of Ultrasonic Flow Meters in Combined Cycle Power Plants, How Protecting SAIFI Metrics & Customers Improved So Much More. Renewable energy offers a cleaner alternative. The country must align itself “with what is almost a worldwide consensus: all coal plants are toxic investments and ‘clean’ coal is a myth”, Bergan added. Coal is both the biggest challenge and an opportunity. With all this coal coming online, it’s not surprising to learn that the Chinese Communist Party just recommended that people buy air purifiers and close their windows during smog days to reduce harmful levels of indoor air pollution. Premier Li Keqiang, director of the National Energy Commission, which determines China’s energy policy, has a different idea. Even if all those power plants end up on China’s grid, Branstetter says there’s a good chance they won’t be used to their full potential. cartoons aimed at an international audience. It may be useful at this juncture to point out that “journalism”—at least insofar as it is practiced in the People’s Republic of China—is completely in service of the Chinese Communist Party. Another 100 GW is under construction and coal interests are lobbying for even more plants. CHANGJI, CHINA - JULY 04: Transport trucks transfer raw coal in pits as deep as 200 meters at the ... [+] East Junggar Basin on July 4, 2018 in Changji Hui Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous of China. By comparison, Arizona’s recently closed Kayenta mine produced 7.3 million metric tons (tonnes) annually. Canadell says the building boom is the result of misplaced incentives to build coal plants and create construction jobs. China’s growing appetite for new coal-fired power stations has outstripped plant closures in the rest of the world since the start of last year, data shows. It said its $80bn (£62bn) assets were coal-free and it was considering the fund’s total carbon footprint too. Trump catalyzed the March for Science. In fact, China is planning to add more coal power (290 gigawatts) than the U.S. currently produces (236 gigawatts). Andrew Wheeler, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in July announced that the agency would limit greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes for the first time in U.S. history. “On the surface it sounds great: You’re decentralizing the permit process and making it simpler,” Branstetter says. The uncertain market access has already slowed investment in renewables, Li says. "We're not intending to transfer pollution to other countries," said Chen Wenling, chief economist at the China Center for International Economic Exchanges in Beijing. China’s coal-power overcapacity dates back to the 12th FYP. This year, coal-generated electricity is expected to see its biggest global step-down on record. Christine Shearer, an analyst at the NGO Global Energy Monitor, said: “China’s proposed coal expansion is so far out of alignment with the Paris agreement that it would put the necessary reductions in coal power out of reach, even if every other country were to completely eliminate its coal fleet.”. The breakthroughs and innovations that we uncover lead to new ways of thinking, new connections, and new industries. China is also helping to finance a quarter of all the new coal projects in the rest of the world, including in South Africa, Pakistan and Bangladesh. If China already has more coal power than it needs, why does it keep building new plants? Local governments were under enormous political pressure to increase the economic productivity in their region and saw new coal plants as a great shortcut. “Instead of expanding further, China needs to make significant reductions to its coal fleet over the coming decade,” Shearer said. We Insist: A Timeline Of Protest Music In 2020, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Germany Bulldozes Old Villages For Coal Despite Lower Emissions Goals. Moving the peaking timetable earlier is a much-needed response to the climate emergency we’re facing.

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