China Decreased Their Fossil Fuel Use While Increasing Their Energy Use

China is becoming a global leader in the fight against climate change.

3. 18. 17 by June Javelosa
Paul Souders/Getty
Image by Paul Souders/Getty

Global Climate Leader

China, being one of the world’s biggest industrial nations, is also one of the planet’s biggest contributors to global warming.

The country’s coal consumption is a major source of carbon dioxide emissions, which get trapped in our atmosphere. To date, the country releases twice the CO2 emissions as the US. But it’s something that the Chinese government is working hard to change.

In recent years, the country has made significant strides towards implementing and enforcing nationwide proposals and policies towards minimizing their carbon emissions. For instance, in keeping with the Paris Agreement, China introduced a cap on coal use in the country; they also demonstrated how serious they are about their anti-coal stance by cancelling 104 new coal plants and shifting focus towards renewable energy sources, such as hydro, wind, and solar.

As a result, the country was able to reduce its coal consumption for the third year in a row and establish itself as a global leader in the battle against climate change.

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Based on initial data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the country’s coal consumption declined by 4.7 percent last year. The share of coal in China’s total energy mix sits at 62 percent, with solar capacity growing 81.6 percent and wind power growing 13.2 percent since 2015.

China Tackles Climate Change

Back in 2014, China reported that it managed to bring down coal use by 1.28 percent—while it may not seem like a significant number, it’s notable because this was first time coal use dropped in China in this century.

Since then, a trend that saw a steady decline of coal use and CO2 emissions was maintained by China, which they hope to continue well into the coming years.

Wind power plants in Xinjiang, China. Source: Wikipedia

Their efforts to address the effects of climate change on our environment has “completely revolutionized the prospects for bringing global emissions and bringing climate change under control,” says senior coal campaigner for Greenpeace Lauri Myllyvirta.

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According to Myllyvirta, the steady fall of global emissions in recent years can largely be credited to the efforts made by China and the US, who are the world’s leading producers of carbon emission.

In addition, energy demand is no longer tied to China’s economic activity. Combined with the country’s efforts to diversify their power sources and support for renewable energy installations, the country is truly making a mark in the fight against climate change.


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