China is failing to meet its previously established climate targets as it accelerates the approval of new coal-fired power stations to prevent energy shortages in the future. That is what environmental organization Greenpeace fears.
Last year, China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, promised to use less coal by 2026 but has recently increased its production.
In the first few months of this year, China gave the green light for the construction of coal-fired power stations with a capacity of 8.6 gigawatts, Greenpeace calculated. That’s almost half the full capacity the country approved all of last year.
China has previously indicated that the country will first intensify the use of fossil fuels in the coming years before reducing consumption. Last year, the country was hit by an energy crisis due to a temporary coal shortage. Moreover, due to the current global energy crisis, partly due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China fears a new energy shortage.
“More energy from coal will not provide energy security for China,” said Wu Jinghan, a climate and energy activist at Greenpeace. According to him, China has too many coal-fired power stations and power shortages resulting from a misalignment of the energy systems it already has. China also generates electricity from the sun and wind.
China is 60 percent dependent on coal for its electricity supply. The government announced in May that 10 billion yuan, equivalent to about 1.5 billion euros, will be invested in coal-fired power stations until 2025.
The pandemic has also severely affected the Chinese economy by corona lockdowns and logistics chain disruptions. The Chinese government is therefore also trying to stimulate the economy through large investments in infrastructure projects. That takes a lot of coal.