As China looks to meet its energy demands, there has been a rush for coal, with prices hitting record highs in October. Despite pledges by Beijing to pull back from fossil fuels, the power crisis has exposed shortfalls in the country’s ability to meet its manufacturing needs. Coal still supplies more than half the nation’s power. When more than 40 countries last week signed a pledge to phase out coal, China (along with the U.S. and India) was noticeably absent.
Can China ever hope to meet its energy needs without relying on dangerous fossil fuels? What are the implications for the global effort to combat climate change?