They will make up nearly half the new coal power output likely to go online next decade
BEIJING – When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as US President Donald Trump vowed to “bring back coal” in America, the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change.
However, new data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.
These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, a Berlin-based environmental group. Many of the plants are in China, but by capacity, about a fifth of these new coal power stations are in other countries.
Overall, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, said Urgewald, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 per cent.
The fleet of new coal plants would make it virtually impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris climate accord. Electricity generated from fossil fuels such as coal is the biggest single contributor globally to the rise in carbon emissions, which scientists agree is causing the earth’s temperatures to rise.
“Even today, new countries are being brought into the cycle of coal dependency,” said Urgewald director Heffa Schuecking.
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