Coal Can’t Be So Bad: China Doubles The Coal Power Capacity That OECD Countries Take Offline

Total coal power capacity in China, 2005 to mid-2018 (blue bars), coal power capacity under development as of mid-2018 (yellow, red, and green bars), and China’s 2020 coal cap (red dotted lines). Coal power poised to be added to the China coal fleet exceeds the country’s 1100 GW cap. Data: China Electricity Council 2018; CoalSwarm, Global Coal Plant Tracker, July 2018. Graphic: CoalSwarm

German energy expert Prof. Fritz Vahrenholt writes at Die kalte Sonne that “developing country” China is pulling the wool over the world’s eyes as it continues to rapidly expand its coal power. UN winks it through. 

How relevant is our [German] coal phase-out worldwide?

While Germany says goodbye to coal-fired power plants, the global picture is different. Although 17,000 MW of coal-fired power plants were taken off the grid worldwide (mainly in the OECD countries) in 2020, almost twice as much net capacity was added in China. (8660 MW were taken off the grid in China , but 36,400 MW of new coal-fired power plants were connected to the grid).

China pulling the wool over the eyes of the world

In the fourteenth 5-year plan of the People’s Republic of China, which is being adopted these days, the Chinese Communist Party is pulling the wool over the eyes of the world. CO2 emissions are to be reduced by 18% in relation to gross national product (GNP) by 2025. That sounds great. But the GNP is supposed to increase by 6% next year and over the coming years years. So that would be 30% -18% = 12% additional CO2 emissions in the next 5 years alone. This increase is 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2, almost double Germany’s total emissions.

Still a developing country?

But China, the world export champion, has the status of a developing country in the Paris Agreement. So the country can do what it wants.

The message of the 5-year plan of the Chinese state and party leadership, on the other hand, leaves no doubt: Beijing wants a dominant place in the world economy. The ultimate goal is self-sufficiency. As I said: but still a developing country according to the UN.”

One power plant every week

And according to Energy Live News, “China ‘built over three times as much coal plant capacity as the rest of the world in 2020’
It commissioned almost 40GW in 2020, equivalent to building more than one large plant every week.”

Also read:

China’s 14th Five Year Plan for Power Sector (1) : There Will be Coal
China’s power industry calls for hundreds of new coal power plants by 2030

9 responses to “Coal Can’t Be So Bad: China Doubles The Coal Power Capacity That OECD Countries Take Offline”


    Like China India is also expanding coal power for good reason the so called alternative renewables wind and solar are proven unreliable when they are most needed. The Paris Accord is a fraud as CO2 has a minor climate effect if at all and more is better than less for greening the planet.

  2. Don B

    As shown by this graph, all of the acceleration in CO2 emissions is coming from China, India and other Asian countries:

  3. Jollygreenman

    I like this.

    So the fact that the Chinese scores higher on the standardized USA SAT(?) scores is not a myth. The Chinese have very strong BS detektors, having had to put up with the ‘great leap’ forward and a steel foundry in every village.

  4. Lasse

    To understand this see how they are cooking today. Over 40% are relying on open fire to cock their own meals.

  5. drumphish

    China Coal

    China burns four billion tons of coal each year, breaks the record.

    The US has decreased coal consumption from 900 million tons down to 750 million tons.

    China has anthracite coal deposits, you can’t blame China if it wants to mine and consume coal to generate electricity. It’s not a crime to want to have a better life and world.

    Electricity is the number one energy desired.

    China’s political economy is a different story.

  6. It doesn't add up...

    One of the more interesting findings in the EIB climate survey that was the subject of your previous post was that 95% of Chinese believe that China is world leading in tackling climate change. So that coal must be alright then.

  7. S.K.

    Super critical boiler technology can eradicate the harmful emissions associated with coal fired power plants. (4:20 mark)

  8. S.K.

    Shame on you for refusing to acknowledge super critical boiler technology cleans up coal emissions.

  9. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #447 – Watts Up With That?

    […] Coal Can’t Be So Bad: China Doubles The Coal Power Capacity That OECD Countries Take Offline […]

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