The world’s second-largest economy is the largest emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2), and China’s emissions commitments are seen as essential to keeping global temperatures from rising well below two degrees Celsius.
However, the surge in approvals for coal-fired power plants has fueled concerns that Beijing will backtrack on its goals of peaking emissions between 2026 and 2030 and becoming carbon neutral. of carbon dioxide emissions by 2060.
Local governments in China’s energy-hungry provinces have approved at least 20.45 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power in the first three months of 2023, Greenpeace said.
This figure is more than double the 8.63 GW reported by Greenpeace for the same period last year and higher than the 18.55 GW given the green light for the whole of 2021.
China relied on coal for nearly 60 percent of its electricity last year.
The push for more coal plants “risks causing climate disasters … and locking us on a high-carbon path,” Greenpeace activist Xie Wenwen said.
Greenpeace analysts have warned that investing in more fossil fuel plants to prepare for the sudden increase in air conditioning will create a vicious circle: increasing greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants will accelerate climate change, which will lead to a greater frequency of extreme weather events such as heat waves.
China is also the largest producer of renewable energy in the world and the fastest growing.
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