China’s climate paradox: A leader in coal and clean energy

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Washington, Dec. 3 (BNA): As world leaders gather in Spain to discuss how to slow the warming of the planet, a spotlight falls on China, the top emitter of greenhouse gases.

 

China burns about half the coal used globally each year. Between 2000 and 2018, its annual carbon emissions nearly tripled, and it now accounts for about 30% of the world’s total, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

 

It’s also the leading market for solar panels, wind turbines and electric vehicles, and it manufactures about two-thirds of solar cells installed worldwide.

 

“We are witnessing many contradictions in China’s energy development,” said Kevin Tu, a Beijing-based fellow with the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. “It’s the largest coal market and the largest clean energy market in the world.”

 

At the annual United Nations climate summit, this year in Madrid, government representatives will put the finishing touches on implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, which set a goal to limit future warming to 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Nations may decide for themselves how to achieve it.

 

China had previously committed to shifting its energy mix to 20% renewables, including nuclear and hydroelectric energy.

 

Climate experts generally agree that the initial targets pledged in Paris will not be enough to reach the goal, and next year nations are required to articulate more ambitious targets.

 

J.M.S