mandag 24. april 2023

China ramps up coal power despite carbon neutral pledges

Local governments in China approved more new coal power in the first three months of 2023 than in the whole of 2021, according to official documents. The approvals, analysed by Greenpeace, reveal that between January and March this year, at least 20.45 gigawatts of coal power was approved, up from 8.63GW in the same period in 2022. In the whole of 2021, 18GW of coal was approved.

A Chinese Communist party (CCP) five-year plan from 2016 had placed a heavy emphasis on reducing the use of coal and developing clean energy sources. In 2020 Xi Jinping, China’s leader, pledged that the country would become carbon neutral by 2060.

This prompted an era of reduced coal power approvals as local governments sought to keep their local economies in check with Beijing’s priorities. A rise in coal power approvals came in 2020 when the five-year plan came to an end, as local governments anticipated even tighter restrictions on coal expansion in the next round.