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China Reduces Coal-Fired Power Capacity Amid Clean Energy Concerns

Apr 27, 2016 05:00 AM EDT
China's Coal Dependence A Challenge For Climate
The amount of carbon dioxide in the Antartic has surpassed the 400 parts per million (ppm) mark. This is the first occurrence in 400 million years, and will not decrease even after thousands of years.
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On Monday, China's top economic planner laid out new measures to curb green house emissions brought by coal-fired powerplants in the notoriously polluted country.

In a release, the central government announced they are banning construction of new coal-fired power plants in areas with surplus power, even postponing construction of some approved plants in 13 provinces until at least 2018.

New York Times notes that such big chunk of power - 105 gigawatts - those plants would have been able to produce is considerably more than the electricity-generating capacity of Britain from all sources.

Apart from the banning announcement, NDRC also mentioned that some areas will face shortage of electricity; however the government will give preference to developing power plants that use non-fossil fuels in regions short of energy supplies and arrange to transport power from other provinces.

Thermal power, most of which comes from coal, accounts for the bulk of China's electricity output.

In an interview with New York Times, Nr. Myllyvirta of Greenpeace said "while coal consumption in China is being reduced to help fight air pollution, the country's biggest state-owned electricity generators are adding new coal-fired power plants at a pace not seen in a decade.

"It's definitely a positive step, but it's not even enough to prevent the overcapacity from getting worse," he told the newspaper.

Furthermore Wall Street Journal notes that reduced coal factory "could weigh on already-struggling coal markets"

"Weaker demand for coal inside China could ultimately lead to higher exports, which would exacerbate the huge supplies of coal sloshing around global markets. The higher supplies could drive down global benchmark prices and hit the bottom lines of major U.S. and international coal producers," WSJ reports.

As a consequence to China's skyrocketing economy, heavy pollution, blamed on coal-burning by power stations has enveloped the entire county, which is why in 2013 China's government has decided curb air pollution by shutting down old factories in the notoriously smoggy Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region.

China is just one of the many countries who signed the Paris climate accord, which aims to cut short and in time overturn the rise in carbon emissions, limiting global temperatures below 2 Celsius.

China, by far one of the world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses, is aiming to reach a peak in carbon emissions by 2030.

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