China’s transition towards a renewable energy future is picking up pace, as the country recorded an historic fall in coal consumption in 2015.
After a drop of 2.9 per cent in 2014, coal use across fell another 3.7 per cent last year, according to newly released government data.
While coal’s future looks increasingly bleak – with 1.3 million jobs expected to be lost across the industry – Chinese renewables are growing at record speed, with a 34 per cent rise in wind and a 74 per cent rise in solar helping to meet growing electricity demand across the country.
This on-going transition could also see the nation peak carbon emissions as early as 2025.
With all countries now urged to turn their Paris pledges into action, the expected release of China’s next Five-Year Plan, at its People’s Congress next week, gives it a vital opportunity to further accelerate the pace of its energy transition and raise its climate ambition, for its economy, its people and public health.
- Coal is being left friendless, as China “wages a war” on the climate pollutant. Witnessing a historic drop in coal use – with soaring solar and wind picking up the slack – China follows others, including the UK and US in seeing a continued decline in coal dependence. The stats come as China also announced it would close 1,000 mines in 2016, and with the drop in coal use expected to coincide with a fall in the country’s emissions, it gives weight to recent claims the country will “far surpass” its 2020 climate targets.
- The energy transition is gaining momentum; the faster it happens, the better. As global renewables investment reaches a record US$367 billion, new research (Mandarin) shows that by 2030, China could meet 22 per cent of primary energy use through non-fossil fuel energy sources; helping emissions to peak as early as 2025. By approving a robust Five-Year Plan, China could further accelerate this transition, bringing more jobs, clean air, better health and a more resilient economy for its people.
- Turning words into deeds will send renewables soaring, and secure a climate safe future. The Paris agreement is a clear acknowledgement by all nations of the huge and growing threat of climate change. By quickly moving to ratify and implement the agreement, they would give investors confidence, let renewables thrive and help speed up the transition to a healthy, sustainable renewable energy future which leaves no-one behind.