China coal

China’s Climate Progress May Have Faltered in 2018, But It Seems to Be on the Right Path

Read time: 6 mins
Woman in a smog mask walks past an anti-pollution mural

By Phillip Stalley, DePaul University

Despite clear signs that the need to act on climate change is becoming more urgent, global greenhouse gas emissions are set to rise for the second straight year.

China, the world’s second-largest economy and ground zero in the global effort to combat climate change, is among the biggest drivers of this increase. Accounting for 27 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, China has been the world’s leading emitter for more than a decade. Although its emissions stayed flat between 2013 and 2016, they rose again in 2017 and increased by an estimated 5 percent in 2018.

While recent increases are certainly cause for concern, based on my research on China’s climate change policies, I see grounds for optimism in terms of what to expect with China’s carbon footprint.

In-depth: BP’s Global Data for 2017 Shows Record Highs for Coal and Renewables

Read time: 10 mins
Piles of coal and polluted water in India's Meghalaya State

By Simon Evans, Carbon Brief. Originally posted on Carbon BriefCC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Renewable energy grew by the largest amount ever last year, while coal-fired electricity also reached a record high, according to new global data from oil giant BP.

However, set against continued rapid rises in energy demand fuelled by oil and gas, renewables were not enough to prevent global CO2 emissions rising significantly for the first time in four years, the figures show.

How Politics and Pollution Could Push China Into the Climate Leader Role the US Is Giving up

Read time: 7 mins
Wind turbines in China

Earlier this month China halted more than 100 coal-fired power projects. Scrapping these projects, with combined installed capacity of more than 100 gigawatts, may have more to do with China’s current overcapacity in coal production than its commitment to mitigating climate change. Nevertheless, Chinese leaders are likely happy that the move is framing their nation as a green energy leader, according to experts in Chinese and environmental policy. 

That’s because, they say, the Chinese government is now eager to fill the vacuum in climate change leadership that is being left by the U.S. And, they say, China is poised to eat America’s lunch in the renewable energy sector. 

China Will Close 1,000 Coal Mines As Industry Continues to Sputter

Read time: 3 mins

China has announced plans to close more than 1,000 coal mines in 2016, cutting production by 60 million tonnes. The move is part of a larger mandate to eliminate as much as 500 million tonnes of surplus production over the next five years, the government says. 
 
When it comes to coal, China is king: it is the world's largest producer and also its largest consumer. Last year, the country's 10,760 mines produced 3.7 million tonnes of coal. Yet, it's estimated that over half (2 million tonnes) that capacity does not get used, every year. According to a Reuters report, demand has waned due to the combination of a slowing economy and government policy to curb pollution by moving away from fossil fuels.
 
In addition to the air pollution from burning coal that plagues Chinese cities and exacts huge costs on society, the country's coal mining over-production is a real problem. Last year the country's supply surplus drove domestic prices down by a third.  Prices have dropped for five straight years thanks to a glutted market. Recognizing one of its most important economic sectors is in trouble, China hopes to stimulate the industry through consolidation.  The government has plans to eventually shut down all mines that produce less than 90,000 tonnes per year. Under this policy 5,600 mines will be shuttered.

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