China’s rising coal generation is both a right and wrong step – by Clyde Russell (Daily Mail/Reuters – November 8, 2016)

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Nov 8 (Reuters) – China’s future use of polluting coal for electricity shows the difficulty of dealing with news that presents multiple facts, thus allowing some to be highlighted over others.

The National Energy Administration (NEA) announced on Monday its latest five-year plan for China’s power market, and the anticipated mix of generation capacity.

The relevant facts for coal: that China aims to cap total generation at 1,100 gigawatts (GW) by 2020, which is 14.6-percent higher than the previous plan that aimed to limit coal generation to 960 GW. Now comes the interpretation part.

This is either a looming environmental disaster as it means the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal intends to use more of the fuel that plays a significant role in causing climate change.

Alternatively, this is actually good news as it means China will be using a smaller share of coal in its generation mix, with coal-fired capacity dropping to 55 percent of the total by 2020 from the previous five-year plan’s target of 64.4 percent by 2015.

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