Wednesday, May 18, 2016
China's transition from coal to renewables
See this article. A brief introductory excerpt:
"Recent data suggests that China's carbon dioxide emissions fell in 2015, driven by a sharp drop in coal use. [...] A sluggish economy can explain part of this dip — but not all. China is making a long-term transition away from heavy industry. The central government is trying to clamp down on air pollution and setting aggressive targets for clean energy sources like nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar. There's a major push to green the economy and hit peak CO2 emissions by (or before) 2030.
"And yet … with China, nothing's ever that simple. Over the past year, as a recent report from Greenpeace details, some of China's regulatory agencies have also approved permits for 210 brand-new coal plants across the country — which, if built, would make it harder for the country to meet its climate targets. Many of these plants are being urged on by coal-mining provinces that have been hit hard economically of late. These 210 new coal plants aren't (yet) guaranteed to be built. In fact, key officials in Beijing are lobbying to cancel many of them. But the controversy around the plants helps illustrate just how tricky it will be to clean up the world's largest CO2 polluter. The government is trying to throttle back on fossil fuels — but it also has to be mindful of high unemployment and potential unrest in its key coal regions."