Quantcast

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

Energy

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

American bison roaming Badlands National park, South Dakota. Prisma / Dukas / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

By Clay Bolt

On Oct. 11 people around the world celebrated the release of four plains bison onto a snow-covered butte in Badlands National Park, South Dakota.

Read More Show Less
An EPA sponsored cleanup of the toxic Gowanus Canal dredges a section of the canal of industrial debris on Oct. 28, 2016 in Brooklyn. The Gowanus is a Superfund site from years of industrial waste spilling into the water, and it is listed in GAO's report to be at risk from a climate disaster. Andrew Lichtenstein / Corbis / Getty Images

The climate crisis has put at least 945 designated toxic waste sites at severe risk of disaster from escalating wildfires, floods, rising seas and other climate-related disasters, according to a new study from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
(L) Selma Three Stone Engagement Ring. (R) The Greener Diamond Farm Project. MiaDonna

By Bailey Hopp

If you had to choose a diamond for your engagement ring from below or above the ground, which would you pick … and why would you pick it? This is the main question consumers are facing when picking out their diamond engagement ring today. With a dramatic increase in demand for conflict-free lab-grown diamonds, the diamond industry is shifting right before our eyes.

Read More Show Less
Rob Greenfield pictured above is driven by the concept of "living a life where [he] can wake up and feel good about [his] life." Rob Greenfield / Facebook

For one year Rob Greenfield grew and foraged all of his own food. No grocery stores, no restaurants, no going to a bar for a drink, not even medicines from the pharmacy.

Read More Show Less
Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store. VioletaStoimenova / E+ / Getty Images

Apple has removed all 181 vaping-related apps from its App Store, the company announced on Friday. The removal of the apps comes after thousands of people across the country have developed lung illnesses from vaping and 42 people have died.

Read More Show Less