What’s The Point? In 2020 China Built The Equivalent Of More Than One New Large Coal Plant Per Week

There has been a sustained global-scale effort to reduce coal power capacity in recent years. Meanwhile, China’s government has been busy loosening restrictions on coal plant construction to power its post-pandemic economy. In 2020, China built over three times as much new coal power capacity as all other countries in the world combined – with no signs of letting up in years to come.

While the rest of the world combined to commission just 11.9 gigawatts (GW) of new coal plants in 2020, China alone commissioned 38.4 GW of new coal-fired power capacity (Global Energy Monitor, 2021).

Over 73 gigawatts (GW) of new coal power projects were initiated in China last year. This is five times as much as in all other countries combined.

China’s central government appears to be focusing on growing its economy as fast as possible, wholly disregarding the admonishments of climate activists insisting CO2 emissions must be dramatically reduced to forestall an allegedly looming climate catastrophe.

Image Source: Global Energy Monitor (2021)

Despite an exponential expansion in the wind and solar power capacity since 1990, the global share of the total primary energy supply (TPES) from wind and solar “is still only about 1.8%” (Boretti, 2021).

And this percentage is “not going to improve that much” in the coming decades because of the intermittent and unreliable energy supply (the wind must be blowing and the Sun must be shining) and deficiencies/high costs of renewable energy storage.

Image Source: Boretti, 2021

What is the point of decommissioning coal for the sake of “climate change mitigation” in places like Europe and the United States if the government of China has decided growing its economy is more important than reducing global net CO2 emissions?

8 responses to “What’s The Point? In 2020 China Built The Equivalent Of More Than One New Large Coal Plant Per Week”

  1. bonbon

    Maybe Beijing does not take Greta seriously, unlike some ¨westerners¨?

    Of course Greta never heard of the immanent collapse of the everything bubble which her trusted authority Marc Carney would attempt to avert by banning Carbon and Meat.
    Maybe some here follow Greta and do no homework?
    Hypocrisy to go after Greta with no actual study, only jingoistic cliches?

  2. Don B

    China obviously does not believe the hypothesis that more atmospheric carbon dioxide will destroy the planet. Neither do India and other Asian nations which along with China were the source of ALL of the increase in CO2 emissions during the last 15 years.

    It is past time for political “leaders” to seriously examine the AGW-will-destroy-the-planet hypothesis.

  3. John Hultquist

    I agree with “What’s the point?”
    My reasoning, however, is that CO2 isn’t a big deal.
    There are many, and more, important issues.
    Almost all the green (wind, solar, …) crap,
    is a waste of time and money.

    1. Martin


  4. Richard Greene

    But China is using that coal to manufacture solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and electric vehicles. So it is “green” coal.

    China can’t be expected to mine and manufacture with unreliable, intermittent solar and wind power. Someone has to support the biggest expansion of mining and manufacturing in history, or there will never be a green new deal.

    No green new deal would mean the end of life as we know it. There are only nine years left, says perfesser Kerry. So a huge amount of CO2 emissions and air pollution from China is a small price to pay to save the planet! And never mind the planet saving deniers, because this is a matter of life or death. This comment is serious, not satire.

    1. bonbon

      Seriously, no GND means the end of the banking system as we know it. Mark Carney at the UN as climate action czar, knows this. While Bank of England chief he knew this. BlackRock knows this, endorsing Carney´s schemes. Greta knows very well every utterance is backed by the most powerful financiers at Davos.

      Some here have done even less homework than Greta!

      It is high time that financial system is replaced, quickly, with a New Bretton Woods Conference with China fully on board.

      I think China knows this.

  5. posa

    China has huge coal reserves and exploiting these resources give China energy independence, especially if coal plant power EVs instead of imported oil. Smart move. China also has substantial uranium reserves, so they are doubling the number of nuclear plants. Smart , big picture move.

    Meanwhile China will encourage the West to commit economic suicide especially if the West wants to import Chinese solar panels and windmills.

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