China was responsible for more than half of the new coal power station capacity being built around the world last year, showing how much the country is propping up one of the worst drivers of climate change.
Nearly 200 countries pledged a “phasing down” of coal at the COP26 climate summit last year. But figures from a report by the non-profit Global Energy Monitor show that is nowhere near being realised yet. Globally, the number of coal power stations is actually growing as new constructions more than offset the closure of old plants.
Construction of new coal-fired stations is occurring overwhelmingly in Asia, with China accounting for 52 per cent of the 176 gigawatts of coal capacity under construction in 20 countries last year. The global figure is barely changed from the 181 GW that was under construction in 2020, despite authoritative analyses showing that no more new coal projects can be built if climate goals are to be met.
“It’s a mixed story. Everywhere outside of China, plans for new coal-fired power plants have been scaled back dramatically,” says one of the report’s authors, Lauri Myllyvirta at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.
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