NewsChina escalates coal energy development, contradicting Xi Jinping's climate promises

China escalates coal energy development, contradicting Xi Jinping's climate promises

BEIJING , CHINA - JANUARY 12 : Prime Minister Alexander De Croo visits the People's Republic of China from 10 to 13 January 2024 (Day 2) 
- Meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 12, 2024 in Beijing , China, 12/01/2024 ( Photo by Didier Lebrun / Photonews via Getty Images)
BEIJING , CHINA - JANUARY 12 : Prime Minister Alexander De Croo visits the People's Republic of China from 10 to 13 January 2024 (Day 2) - Meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on January 12, 2024 in Beijing , China, 12/01/2024 ( Photo by Didier Lebrun / Photonews via Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | Photonews
1:07 PM EST, February 22, 2024

"The speed of permit issuance, commencement of construction, and commissioning have accelerated even more compared to the brisk pace seen in 2022," states a report issued by the Helsinki Center for Energy Research and Clean Air (CREA) and the American think tank Global Energy Monitor (GEM).

The document reveals that in 2023, China approved the construction of power plants with a total capacity of 123,000 MW (MegaWatts). To put it in perspective, in 2022, facilities with a capacity of 113,000 MW were given the green light. In addition, last year, projects capable of generating 75,675 MW of coal energy were initiated. There were also plants capable of producing 50,568 MW that commenced operation. In 2022, this figure was 30,000 MW.

How significant is this? The Reuters Agency reports that over two years, China issued permits for the construction of power plants capable of supplying energy equivalent to the entire power supply of Brazil.

China strengthens its position as a leader in CO2 emissions, despite Xi's promises

"What sets the current resurgence in coal-fired power plant investment apart is the fact that it directly opposes the political commitment personally made by leader Xi Jinping," the report authors emphasize.

The authors remind in their text that in 2020, the Chairman of China announced a policy of "aiming to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060."

Xi Jinping stated this was planned to be achieved by "strictly limiting" the growth in coal consumption, decreasing the energy consumption and CO2 emissions, and increasing the percentage of non-fossil energy sources to 20 percent. Bear in mind that China is the largest carbon dioxide emitter in the world.

"Regrettably, all these targets seem very distant after 2023... drastic actions are needed to alter this," asserts the report authors.

The report highlights that the total power harnessed from various sources in China currently surpasses peak demand by a whopping 40%. Nevertheless, the challenge of Xi Jinping's regime is that the current infrastructure's inefficiency doesn't allow for successful electricity delivery where needed. This causes local power shortages. To address these, the administration issues permits for building new coal-fired power plants.

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