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In a bid to cut emissions, China will begin phasing down its consumption of coal in 2026-2030, Chinese President Xi Jinping said during the U.S.-led virtual Leaders’ Summit on Climate on Thursday, as carried by Reuters.
Earlier on Thursday, the energy regulator of China said it would target to reduce the share of coal in the total energy mix to below 56 percent in 2021.
China has pledged to reach carbon neutrality by 2060, and to see its greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2030.
Yet, Beijing continues to plan, approve, build, and commission coal-fired electricity capacity.
China’s coal-fired power generation increased last year as growing electricity demand outpaced the installations of new clean power capacity, making China the only G-20 country with rising coal generation, climate and energy think tank Ember said in its Global Electricity Review 2021.
While wind and solar power generation led to a record fall of coal-fired generation in all other G-20 countries amid flat overall power demand due to the pandemic, China’s electricity demand increased in 2020 and had to be met by both renewable and non-renewable energy sources, with coal increasing its market share, according to Ember.
Despite commitments to become a net-zero emission economy by 2060, China—the world’s biggest carbon emitter—commissioned more coal-fired capacity last year than the rest of the world retired, a new report showed this month. China’s coal boom in 2020 more than offset the retirements in coal capacity in the rest of the world, leading to the first increase in global coal capacity development since 2015, a report led by Global Energy Monitor (GEM) found.
China commissioned 38.4 gigawatts (GW) of new coal plants in 2020, offsetting the record-tying 37.8 GW of coal capacity retired last year, the report showed.
China also has 88.1 GW of coal power under construction. Another 158.7 GW is proposed for construction. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is retreating from coal capacity and is announcing coal retirements.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com