Economic shifts and massive investments in projects for creating clean energy continue to dampen coal’s demand in China that is the largest carbon emitter in the world.
In 2016, China decreased its coal consumption for the third time. The biggest polluter in the world has been cutting back on the use of fossil fuels that have high concentrations of carbon.
The Communist Party by Chinadialogue did an initial analysis and posted its findings in the Statistical Statement on Economic and Social Development. According to them, coal use decreased by 4.7% and is one the largest drop measured in years since 2014. A similar figure was reported by “The Associated Press”.
Greenpeace was not too happy with the drop when measured in physical weight, the coal burned amounted to 4.7% but if we measure it in energy units, it’s just a 1.3% drop. There are two reasons behind this: The coal’s quality might be improved or the report had some discrepancies. In 2015 and 2016, coal production had fallen by 9%. This was due to a 25% increase in imports.
According to Greenpeace, by 2017, carbon emissions that are caused by fossil fuels will drop by 1%. It’s possible that in the fourth year, the overall contribution in greenhouse by China will either fall or be flat.
Experts believe that it’s highly unlikely that coal will reach a high level again. This raises hope that in the coming years, carbon will reach a low level all over the world. The research division’s head Xu Zhaoyuan of the Development Research Center’s industrial economy department of the country’s state council said that funding to energy intensive industries like steel and cement production has taken a hit while the need and use for solar energy increases.
China experienced the greatest surge in its solar energy in 2016 up to 81.6% i.e. 77GW. This amount is double to what is installed all over US combined. Wind power saw an increase to 13.2% i.e. 149GW. A third of world’s wind energy is found in China.
These factors lead to a slower growth model, where the economy is concerned. Xu believes that in the future, it’s highly unlikely that coal consumption will rebound to its original level. It’s possible that the level will either decrease slowly or remain stable.
The global policy advisor at Greenpeace, Li Shuo noted that there had been significant shifts in the economy of China. The country is moving faster than expected and a stark difference can be seen as compared to the expected reassessment that is done across the Pacific.
According to Li Shuo, China is steadily reining in its coal addiction and is investing more and more into renewables. Where Trump’s speech on cutting back on climate change funding has left the world in turmoil, China is seen as the leader in solar energy. China gives the world hope that if this trend continues and all big city emitters reign in their coal addiction, emissions from fossil fuels can be reduced easily.