China’s Coal Use and Carbon Emissions Fall as Renewables Have Record-Breaking Year
Fossil fueled carbon emissions likely fell by a mighty 2.3 percent last year, following 0.8 percent drop in 2014—which was the first year that had ever happened.
What’s behind this groundbreaking downturn?
The fall of coal, of course.
China burned less than 4 billion tons of raw coal for the first time in five years, with last year’s 3.7 percent reduction following a 2.9 percent fall in 2014.
As an Energydesk analysis recently revealed, coal use around the world is dropping at a record-breaking rate as commodity markets are tanking, renewable energy is rising and energy demand growth is slowing.
But the story of coal’s fall is particularly stark in China, where it fueled the country’s stratospheric economic rise—and created the deadly air pollution crisis with which Beijing is still grappling.
These stats come just weeks after the Chinese government announced its intention to close more than a thousand coal mines across the country and enforce a moratorium on new ones until 2019.
China is also looking to cull 1.8 million jobs in its coal and steel sectors.
For reference, the UK has fewer than 25,000 coal and steel workers.
Climate Change Targets
Meanwhile China’s wind and solar capacity enjoyed a record-breaking year for all the right reasons, growing by 34 percent and 74 percent respectively.
For the first time ever, these two renewables covered the country’s entire electricity demand growth.
This trend gives credence to recent claims made by China’s climate envoy that the country will easily meet its 2020 target.
It will be interesting to see how these developments are reflected in next month’s highly-anticipated five year plan.
Calculations by Lauri Myllyvirta
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Looks like you'll have to trust your map if you want to find the newly designated Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine.
By Steve Horn
After taking heat last fall for destroying sacred sites of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, the owner of the Dakota Access pipeline finds itself embattled anew over the preservation of historic sites, this time in Ohio.
The plan provides billions in subsidies for renewable energy, bans the construction of new nuclear plants and decommissions Switzerland's five aging reactors. There is no clear date when the plants will close.
By Alex Kirby
An ambitious scientific expedition is due to start work on May 22 on Bolivia's second-highest mountain, Illimani. The researchers plan to drill three ice cores from the Illimani glacier, and to store two of them in Antarctica as the start of the world's first ice archive.
Although not on most people's radar here, New York is one step closer to becoming the first state to have genetically modified, non-sterile insects released outside without cages.
The viral video of a young girl snatched off a Richmond, British Columbia dock by a sea lion is another reminder that people shouldn't get too close to wild animals.
Port officials in Canada have sharply criticized the family for putting themselves at risk for feeding the large animal, especially since there are several signs in the area warning people not to do so.
Flooding breached a supposedly impregnable Arctic "doomsday" vault containing a collection of seeds stored for an apocalypse scenario last week, after warmer-than-average temperatures caused a layer of permafrost to thaw.