Beijing to Abandon Coal Power by 2020
Beijing, the capital of China, has recently announced that it will ban all industrial use of coal by the end of 2020 in a continued effort to severely cap its country's greenhouse gas emissions.
A study published earlier this year in Environmental Research Letters reported that China remains one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters, making up 63 percent of the world's emissions along with the United States, Russia, Brazil, India, Germany and the United Kingdom.
However, the massive industrialized country is also the world leader in efforts to cut those emissions. China was recently found to be the world's largest user or renewable energy products and "green" technological advances.
In an effort to cut its carbon footprint even further, China also recently followed the example of the US's new Clean Power Plan, declaring an aim to cut carbon dioxide emission levels by 30 percent by the year 2030. China's Advisory Committee on Climate Change, told a conference in Beijing that an absolute cap for CO2 emissions will be written into the country's next five-year-plan, which will be enacted come 2016.
As part of that plan, the capital city of Beijing declared last week that it is beginning efforts to utterly rid itself of a reliance on coal-power - what is considered one of the "dirtiest" of fuels - according to the Associated Press (AP).
According to China's official Xinhua News Agency, coal use accounted for 25.4 percent of the capital's energy consumption in 2012. The figure is expected to shrink to less than 10 percent by 2017.
The districts of Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan specifically are due to close their coal-fired power plants and other coal-related facilities by 2020, transitioning over to water, wind, and natural gas.
According to the Beijin Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (BMEPB), who is overseeing the change, the Takai power plant is one of the first to go, officially shutting down its coal-fired units last Wednesday.
Enforcement of pollution and clean air fines are also reportedly being more heavily enforced, with the BMEPB filing over 1456 environmental violations - the equivalent of over $650,000 (USD) as of the end of July.