“In the past, it (coal) was the main source of power. In the future it will play the role of providing flexibility for the power grid,” Li said at a press conference. “And now we still need a certain amount of coal ... but we will not develop coal on a wide-scale basis, that’s very clear and that’s strictly regulated,” he added. Li acknowledged that China was still building new coal power plants, but he emphasized that they were unlike traditional coal plants and would not emit as much as plants did previously.
Climate experts have long advocated for a ban on new coal power plants, which would be a significant step. China obtains roughly 60% of its power from coal, and is the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gases.