A breakthrough in Chinese climate policy? Not likely

By Julian Snelder

Coal has become so abundant in China that prices are the lowest in six years.  UBS sees almost 50GW (to put in context, a really big power station is 1GW) of coal-fired power capacity added each year for the foreseeable future: 'the reality is that no other technology — wind, solar, gas, hydro and nuclear — represent a viable alternative.

Furthermore, there are a number of reasons to be cautious about any future 'breakthrough' on emissions caps. China already mines 3. 8 billion tonnes of coal every year, and Chinese coal alone accounts for 20% of all global CO2 emissions.

On present coal use patterns, China is on track to belch almost half of the entire world's recommended maximum 'CO2 budget' of 32 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

Yet this very idea has been tentatively held out, both by a CASS professor suggesting a coal consumption cap at 4. 5 billion tonnes in 2025, and by the Advisory Committee on Climate Change dangling a longer-term 11 billion tonne CO2-equivalent limit by 2030 (from 9. 5 billion today).

Meanwhile, Greenpeace published an alarming report claiming that the 50 planned Chinese syngas projects would emit 1. 1 billion tonnes of CO2 annually, almost triple America's entire stated CO2 reduction target by 2020.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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