[Marxism] China ramps up coal power in face of emissions efforts
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 20 09:17:50 MST 2019
(What was that about an "ecological civilization" again?)
FT.com, Nov. 20, 2019
China ramps up coal power in face of emissions efforts
Study shows new plants being added equivalent to entire capacity of EU
Leslie Hook in London
China is set to add new coal-fired power plants equivalent to the EU’s
entire capacity, as the world’s biggest energy consumer ignores global
pressure to rein in carbon emissions in its bid to boost a slowing economy.
Across the country, 148GW of coal-fired plants are either being built or
are about to begin construction, according to a report from Global
Energy Monitor, a non-profit group that monitors coal stations. The
current capacity of the entire EU coal fleet is 149GW.
While the rest of the world has been largely reducing coal-powered
capacity over the past two years, China is building so much coal power
that it more than offsets the decline elsewhere.
Ted Nace, head of Global Energy Monitor, said the new coal plants would
have a significant impact on China’s already-increasing carbon emissions.
“What is being built in China is single-handedly turning what would be
the beginning of the decline of coal, into the continued growth of
coal,” he said, adding that China was “swamping” global progress in
bringing down emissions.
Concerns over air pollution and over-investment in coal prompted China
to suspend construction of hundreds of coal stations in 2016. But many
have since been restarted, as Beijing seeks to stimulate an economy
growing at its slowest pace since the early 1990s.
Pressure has been growing on China, the world’s largest emitter, to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which have been creeping up since 2016,
and hit a record high last year.
China has pledged to peak its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 as part
of the Paris climate agreement. However, a number of countries including
the EU, have been urging China to move that date forward.
The report shows the pace of new construction starts of Chinese coal
stations rose 5 per cent in the first half of 2019, against the same
period last year. About 121GW of coal power is actively under
construction in China, slightly lower than the same point a year ago.
Yet this figure still dwarfs the pace of new construction elsewhere.
Last year China’s net additions to its coal fleet were 25.5GW, while the
rest of the world saw a net decline of 2.8GW as more plants were closed
than were built.
The renewed push into coal has been driven by Chinese energy companies
desperate to gain market share and by local governments who view coal
plants as a source of jobs and investment. While electricity demand in
China rose 8.5 per cent last year, the current grid is already
oversupplied and coal stations are utilised only about half the time.
“The utilisation of coal-fired power plants will reach a record low this
year, so there is no justification to build these coal plants,” said
Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and
Clean Air, a think-tank. “But that is not the logic that investment
follows in China . . . There is little regard for the long-term
economics of the investments that are being made.
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