China's Persistent Coal Reliance in the Spotlight

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The COP26 climate negotiations have revived the long-standing question of whether China, the world's top greenhouse gas emitter by volume, can successfully wean itself off coal — and whether the energy crisis will worsen the conundrum. China already has the world’s largest renewable power generation capacity and is adding more wind and solar capacity annually than any other nation. Yet it still struggles to curb the use of coal, which retained a nearly 70% share of the electricity market during the first nine months of 2021 despite the incursion of wind and solar (see tables). Coal consumption “grew rapidly” in the first three quarters due to strong demand for power generation, although the growth rate has slowed in the latter part of the period, said the China Coal Industry Association without providing details. Although wind and solar output staged robust growth rates of 42% and 24%, respectively, they only managed to erode coal’s market share marginally by around 0.2 percentage points during January-September, according to latest official data.

Coal, Low-Carbon Policy, CO2 Emissions, Renewable Electricity , Policy and Regulation
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