Bleak outlook for coal as China befriends renewables


China’s transition towards a renewable energy future is picking up pace, as the country recorded an historic fall in coal consumption in 2015. After a drop of 2.9 per cent in 2014, coal use across fell another 3.7 per cent last year, according to newly released government data. While coal’s future looks increasingly bleak – with 1.3 million jobs expected to be lost across the industry – Chinese renewables are growing at record speed, with a 34 per cent rise in wind and a 74 per cent rise in solar helping to meet growing electricity demand across the country. This on-going transition could also see the nation peak carbon emissions as early as 2025 (Mandarin). With all countries now urged to turn their Paris pledges into action, the expected release of China’s next Five-Year Plan, at its People’s Congress next week, gives it a vital opportunity to further accelerate the pace of its energy transition and raise its climate ambition, for its economy, its people and public health.


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  • “These statistics show that China is on track to far surpass its Paris climate targets, which is great news for everyone. However, the trend is not moving as fast as it could. The introduction of a national coal consumption cap in the upcoming 13th Five Year Plan would quicken the pace of CO2’s decline, as well as help to bring clean and healthy air to the citizens of China.” – Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace East Asia’s Senior global campaigner on coal

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