China Building More Coal Power Plants, What it Means for Climate Action?
China carries on to lead the world in setting up new coal plants, authorizing more capacity than the rest of the world combined, which could thwart its net-zero emissions by the 2060 target
China keeps building more and more coal power plants, while the world is trying to shed its dependency on fossil fuels to combat the climate change. In 2021, about 176 gigawatts of global coal capacity was under construction, and over half of which was being built in China. This trend indicated how much the country is still supporting one of the worst drivers of climate change, putting the global climate action in jeopardy.
Nearly 200 countries vowed a “phasing down” of coal and other fossil fuels at the COP26 climate summit last year. According to a report by the non-profit Global Energy Monitor (GEM), the number of global coal power stations has been rising steadily as new constructions more than offset the shutting of old plants.
Meanwhile, Asia has witnessed an overpowering construction of new coal-fired stations, with China responsible for 52 percent of the 176 gigawatts of coal capability under construction in 20 countries last year.
Lauri Myllyvirta, one of the report authors, at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, said;
It’s a mixed story. Everywhere outside of China, plans for new coal-fired power plants have been scaled back dramatically. However, Chinese firms have continued to announce new coal-fired power stations and there is very clear government backing for that. That’s a worrying sign.
Myllyvirta further added that there is no likelihood of China changing course on coal in 2022. However, the country has stopped financing coal projects with 13 GW of plants cancelled as part of its climate action. It is expected that a further 37 GW will be cancelled this year. The report also noted that plans for new coal have been cut in Bangladesh, India and Vietnam.
China’s emissions trajectory over this decade could be uncertain, with possible positive and negative impacts on global efforts against climate change. However, only the future will tell how much China’s relentless reliance on coal will affect the planet.
Via: The New Scientist