Despite global efforts to protect the climate, China is building new coal-fired power plants again, according to a study. Approval, construction start and announcement of new coal projects have "accelerated dramatically" in the past year, reaching the highest level since 2015, according to a study by the research groups Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and Global Energy Monitor (GEM).
The capacity of the power plants that began construction was six times larger than that of the power plant projects in the rest of the world combined.
A total of 106 gigawatts of new coal projects were approved last year, the equivalent of about two large power plants per week, the report said. After dramatic energy bottlenecks in autumn 2021, provinces justified the support for new projects with the necessary stability of the power grid at peak times, which the researchers rejected as unfounded because the power plants should run constantly at base load.
Carbon neutrality by 2060?
In the Paris climate agreement in 2015, 195 countries decided to limit dangerous global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. To do this, emissions of carbon dioxide must be reduced. China is the largest coal consumer and largest producer of greenhouse gases. The world's most populous country has pledged to reach peak emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.
However, China's government has recently pointed out that it wants to adapt climate protection to the needs of economic development.