Due to energy shortages, China has returned to using coal that is dangerous for the planet
In 2020, the Chinese government set out to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, but the energy crisis and the rising number of coronavirus cases have jeopardized economic growth, prompting the country to turn back to fossil fuels. It is reported by Bloomberg.
The global energy shortage has forced China to return to using coal, even though this type of fuel is the most dangerous for the planet. “For a country where coal has dominated for so long, one of the biggest challenges on the road to carbon neutrality is changing the mindset,” said Qin Yang, an analyst at Refinitiv. “A return to coal now will only complicate a transition that has just slowly begun to gain momentum.”
China approved the expansion of mining operations and began building new coal-fired generators. Officials have made it clear that this change in the energy and climate agendas is not temporary. Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng called coal the country’s “last barrier” to energy security, while Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “We cannot throw away what feeds us now while what will feed us in the future is not yet in our pocket.”
At the same time, the new policy does not mean that the country is abandoning renewable sources – it is Chinese manufacturers that dominate this sector. In March, Chinese authorities confirmed that the massive wind and solar power program would grow to 450 gigawatts, and solar power producers had already predicted a record number of new panels in 2022.
However, the simultaneous growth in the use of both coal and renewable energy comes with additional risks. Investing in new coal plants will pay off in decades, and a growing renewable energy sector could make them obsolete before that happens.
Earlier in March, researchers reported that the G20 countries had violated their climate commitments: of the $14 trillion in spending that governments spent on stimulating the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, only six percent were green. At the same time, many governments have promised that they will financially support the green economy.