China Unveils Plan to Increase Pollution for at Least Nine Years

Buildings are seen on a polluted day in Beijing on January 18, 2020. (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images)
NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP via Getty Images

China’s state-run Global Times reported on Friday that the Communist government plans to increase carbon emissions for at least nine more years.

Many Western environmentalists claim to believe China’s promises to cut back on pollution, even as the Chinese litter the world with coal-burning, carbon-spewing power plants and plan for industrial growth that is wholly inconsistent with a sharp turn to “green energy.” 

The latest pronouncements from Beijing flatter that illusion while maintaining an unwavering determination to generate as much power as it takes to fulfill the Communist Party’s industrial goals, by any means necessary — including extensive use of nuclear power plants, ostensibly the greatest sin against Western environmentalism:

China’s industrial structure and energy mix will be improved. While promoting the clean and efficient use of coal, we will make a major push to develop new energy sources, and take active and well-ordered steps to develop nuclear energy on the basis of ensuring its safe use, Premier Li Keqiang said while delivering the work report. 

Compared with last year’s government work report, it mentioned the development of nuclear energy, signaling that the country may put more effort into the development of the economic, safe and efficient energy source. 

“Developing nuclear power is an important option to achieve the vision of carbon neutrality as it is a competitive new non-fossil energy, which can reduce the emissions of pollutants and slow the greenhouse effect,” Wang Dezhong, a professor specializing in nuclear-related technology at the School of Mechanical Engineering of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, told the Global Times on Friday.

The Global Times pretended China still plans to “peak” its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and become “carbon neutral” by 2060, but even that pretense included a clear declaration that China dramatically increase its reliance on nuclear power instead of fiddling around with solar panels and windmills. China insists its nuclear plants are the safest and most advanced in the world.

According to Shanghai Jiao Tong University professor Wang Dezhong, China will construct many of its forthcoming nuclear power plants inland, with proposals on the table from at least ten island provinces already. Coastal nuclear power plants have traditionally been viewed as safer and easier to build, especially given the nature of China’s inland terrain, but Wang said technology has progressed enough to make inland plants more feasible.

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