Quantcast

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

Business

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

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A tropical storm above Bangkok on Aug. 04, 2016. Hristo Rusev/ NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Jeff Turrentine

First off: Bangkok Wakes to Rain, the intricately wrought, elegantly crafted debut novel by the Thai-American author Pitchaya Sudbanthad, isn't really about climate change. This tale set in the sprawling subtropical Thai capital is ultimately a kind of family saga — although its interconnected characters aren't necessarily linked by a bloodline. What binds them is their relationship to a small parcel of urban land on which has variously stood a Christian mission, an upper-class family house, and a towering condominium. All of the characters have either called this place home or had some other significant connection to it.

Read More Show Less
orn_france / iStock / Getty Images

By Susan McCabe, BSc, RD

Dioscorea alata is a species of yam commonly referred to as purple yam, ube, violet yam, or water yam.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Left: MirageC / Moment / Getty Images Right: Pongsak Tawansaeng / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD

Sole water is water saturated with pink Himalayan salt.

Read More Show Less
People march to TCF Bank Stadium to protest against the mascot for the Washington Redskins before the game against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2, 2014 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

Maine Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill into law Thursday banning public schools or universities in the state from using Native American mascots, names or imagery. Mills' action will make Maine the first state in the nation with such a ban once it goes into effect later this year, The Bangor Daily News reported.

Read More Show Less
A man protests against the use of disposable plastics outside the Houses of Parliament on March 28 in London. John Keeble / Getty Images

Plastic pollution across the globe is suffocating our planet and driving Earth toward catastrophic climatic conditions if not curbed significantly and immediately, according to a new report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CEIL).

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA) testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee hearing on Capitol Hill on April 2 in Washington, DC. Zach Gibson / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A new climate action plan put forth by Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Jay Inslee on Thursday is being praised for highlighting the enormous benefits that would result from a rapid shift in the U.S. to a renewable energy economy that centers on the needs of workers and vulnerable communities.

Read More Show Less

Mitshu / E+ / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD (CA)

Veganism is a way of living that tries to minimize animal exploitation and cruelty.

Read More Show Less

6okean / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A federal judge ruled this week that the Food and Drug Administration must begin implementing regulations for the many types of e-cigarettes now on the market in the U.S.

Read More Show Less