Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

China’s Coal Use and Carbon Emissions Fall as Renewables Have Record-Breaking Year

Energy
China’s Coal Use and Carbon Emissions Fall as Renewables Have Record-Breaking Year

China witnessed a historic fall in CO2 emissions in 2015 as its coal use fell for the second year in a row, according to newly released government data.

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

Leonardo DiCaprio Devotes Oscars Speech to Climate Change

Porter Ranch ‘Monster’ Gas Leak Largest in U.S. History

Syria: Another Pipeline War

The Biggest Oil Leak You’ve Never Heard Of, Still Leaking After 12 Years

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less
What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch