China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is ready to massively boost its coal-powered energy supply with the total of future projects now standing at 226.2 gigawatts (GW). That is more than twice the amount of fresh capacity planned for India, according to data published Thursday by environmental groups.
The projects approved by China amount to nearly 40 percent of the world’s total planned coal-fired power plants. They are recorded in the Global Coal Exit List database run by German environmental organisation Urgewald and 30 other partner organisations.
The new China projects would be more than Germany’s existing installed power capacity of around 200 GW by the end of 2018.
The rise and rise of coal power in China follows a call in March by the industry’s powerful China Electrical Council for ramping up the national coal power capacity to as much as 1,300 gigawatts by 2030, a 30 percent increase compared to today’s levels.
With nearly 1,000 GW in operation, China accounts for about half the world’s coal-fired power, with the United States (259 GW) and India (221 GW) a distant second and third, according to the Global Coal Plant Tracker.
Global demand for coal increased last year by 0.7 percent, on the heels of a similar spike in 2017, the International Energy Agency reported earlier this year.
Virtually all of that growth was in Asia and especially China, where coal power generation of electricity shot up by more than five percent.
Despite its love of coal, China as well as India, the world’s two biggest builders of new coal stations, have been given special leeway to speak at next week’s U.N. special climate change conference.
Japan, South Africa, and Australia as well as the U.S. were denied a platform to speak at the same event as their support for coal contradicts U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres’s personal drive for a global emergency on climate change.