Asia Will Build 500 Coal-Fired Power Plants This Year No Matter What the U.S. Does
|Coal-fired electric power plan in Datong, China. Photo credit:|
Stefen Chow/Bloomberg via Chamber of Commerce.
First, there’s The New York Times story that China has been using more coal than anyone thought:
Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense. The sharp upward revision in official figures means that China has released much more carbon dioxide — almost a billion more tons a year according to initial calculations — than previously estimated.
The increase alone is greater than the whole German economy emits annually from fossil fuels.
. . . The new data, which appeared recently in an energy statistics yearbook published without fanfare by China’s statistical agency, show that coal consumption has been underestimated since 2000, and particularly in recent years. The revisions were based on a census of the economy in 2013 that exposed gaps in data collection, especially from small companies and factories.
Illustrating the scale of the revision, the new figures add about 600 million tons to China’s coal consumption in 2012 — an amount equivalent to more than 70 percent of the total coal used annually by the United States.
China has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions from a peak level “around” 2030--assuming anyone knows how much is being produced by then. However, this pledge isn’t anything exceptional. It’s “little more than business as usual,” writes the Institute for 21st Century Energy’s Stephen Eule. “In other words, the Chinese have committed to doing what they are doing already.”
The second story is that Asia’s appetite coal for it isn’t letting up [h/t GWPF]:
. . . "Electricity is increasing its share in total energy consumption and coal is increasing its share in power generation," said Laszlo Varro, head of the gas, coal and power markets division for the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Some of the biggest growth in coal use is in India, where it meets 45 percent of total energy demand, compared with just over 20 percent each for petroleum products and biomass/waste.
"We're absolutely sure India's coal demand will continue to grow," Varro said.
These facts won't stop the Obama administration from touting EPA's Clean Power Plan as the United States' key contribution to the Paris talks. For them it's full speed ahead to push aside cheap and abundant coal as a source of electricity no matter the costs to our economy.
As Eule writes:
Sean Hackbarth is a policy advocate and Senior Editor at U.S Chamber of Commerce. He twitters at @seanhackbarth and is a contributing author at the ARRA News Service.
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