China is constructing greater than half of the world’s new coal energy vegetation

Some 176 gigawatts of coal capability was beneath development in 2021, and greater than half of that was being inbuilt China


26 April 2022

Coal-fired power station

A coal-fired energy plant in Datong, Shanxi province, China

Imaginechina Limited/Alamy Stock Photo

China was chargeable for greater than half of the brand new coal energy station capability being constructed world wide final yr, displaying how a lot the nation is propping up one of many worst drivers of local weather change.

Nearly 200 nations pledged a “phasing down” of coal on the COP26 local weather summit final yr. But figures from a report by the non-profit Global Energy Monitor present that’s nowhere close to being realised but. Globally, the variety of coal energy stations is definitely rising as new constructions greater than offset the closure of previous vegetation.

Construction of recent coal-fired stations is going on overwhelmingly in Asia, with China accounting for 52 per cent of the 176 gigawatts of coal capability beneath development in 20 nations final yr. The international determine is barely modified from the 181 GW that was beneath development in 2020, regardless of authoritative analyses displaying that no extra new coal tasks may be constructed if local weather objectives are to be met.

“It’s a mixed story. Everywhere outside of China, plans for new coal-fired power plants have been scaled back dramatically,” says one of many report’s authors, Lauri Myllyvirta on the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. “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.”

There is not any expectation that China will change course on coal this yr, says Myllyvirta, although he says its promise final yr to cease financing coal tasks abroad has already seen 13 GW of vegetation cancelled. He expects an extra 37 GW to be cancelled this yr due to the transfer.

Outside of China, the report reveals plans for brand spanking new coal have been curtailed in rising markets together with Bangladesh, India and Vietnam attributable to a mix of insurance policies and economics. Vietnam, together with Indonesia, is steadily cited as a candidate for a future deal modelled on one with South Africa final yr, the place wealthy nations supplied finance for a shift away from coal.

A report quantity of coal was burned final yr, triggering bumper earnings for coal mining firms and prompting discuss of a “coal comeback”. However, Myllyvirta says it’s “delusional” to assume it is a “new normal”, arguing the gas solely grew to become quickly engaging as a result of gasoline grew to become so costly.


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