China’s coal use reduction plan under the spotlights

China’s National Energy Administration confirmed last week that the country is planning to close 1,000 coal mines on its territory over the next year. The abundance of coal mines in China lowered prices of energy supply, but since the economic slowdown and the shift toward renewable energy, the market is experiencing a lack of demand. According to Reuters, China will therefore, cut a total production capacity of 60 million tones, as part of a plan announced earlier this month, which aims at shutting 500 million tonnes of surplus production capacity within 3 to 5 years. Nearly half of the country’s mines will be required to close within the next few years. Only the biggest and most productive mines will be preserved. Thermal power sector will also be regulated to avoid surplus in domestic production. If China succeeds in its goals, it will reduce its CO2 emissions by almost a billion tons.

This commitment reflects the open approach toward CO2 emissions reduction that China has adopted since the Paris Agreement and the recent plans announced to progressively reduce the share of coal in energy production. Furthermore, it is in line with the country being the world’s biggest renewable energies investor.

In the this regard, China’s Bureau of Statistics just published new data on energy consumption: in 2015 coal accounted for 64% of the total annual energy consumption, 1.6% down over the previous year. On the contrary, the share of hydropower, wind, nuclear, and natural gas increased by 0.9% for a total of 17.9% of the country’s energy consumption. According to Greenpeace, this led to a drop in CO2 emissions of 1-2% in 2015, following a slight fall already in 2014. The NGO stays optimistic and estimates that China will probably reach its peak of GHG emissions before 2030.


(Image: Power plant in Tianjin, PRC. Photo credit: Wikipedia).