NPR: China Wants To Go Carbon-Neutral–And Won’t Stop Burning Coal To Get There
Wed June, 2021, Age: 3 years
Although China committed to going carbon-neutral by 2060, coal-fired heavy industry still made up about 37% of all its economic activity last year, and some provinces are even planning to increase coal-fired power generation this year. The government also relaxed restrictions on coal last year in an effort to boost China’s economic recovery from the pandemic, and nationwide China added 38.4 gigawatts of coal-fired power to its capacity last year–more than three times what was built in the rest of the world during the same time. Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged that “China will strictly control coal-fired power generation projects and limit the increase in coal consumption” at a virtual climate summit hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden this past April. But he has shied away from giving more detailed promises, and China’s 14th FYP does not cap coal reliance or power use. China’s carbon neutrality goals are also hindered by its parallel pursuit of energy security, which has been elevated amid supply shocks related to trade disputes and the global pandemic.