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article imageChina continues to expand coal power plants

By Tim Sandle     Sep 28, 2018 in Environment
Beijing - China's declared intent to cancel new coal power stations appears not to have happened and instead an expansion of the fossil-duel powered plants appears to have taken place, according to an expert report.
Although the Chinese government has declared an edict that no new coal fire power stations will be built, an expansion appears to have taken place on a scale that is threatening to “seriously undermine” global climate goals. These claims are based on satellite images recorded in 2018 from several locations within China. The images reveal cooling towers and new buildings that were not present in 2017 at power plants that were scheduled to to cease operations, according to The Guardian.
The satellite images have been collated and reviewed by the environmental campaign group CoalSwarm, in a report titled "Tsunami Warning — Can China’s Central Authorities Stop a Massive Surge in New Coal Plants Caused by Provincial Overpermitting?" In the report it is stated that the analysis of the rate of power station building in China signifies an expansion rate of 25 percent, moving in the reverse direction that Chinese officials claimed to be taking to assist with a reduction in the global carbon emissions.
According to Christine Shearer, researcher and analyst for CoalSwarm and lead author of the report: "Avoiding dangerous climate change requires essentially phasing out coal plants globally by 2045. China needs to begin planning for the aggressive retirement of its existing coal fleet, not building hundreds of new coal plants."
Instead the report finds that 259 Gigawatts (GW) of new capacity are under development in China, which is comparable to the entire U.S. coal fleet (266 GW) and at a cost equivalent to US$210 billion in capital expenditures. This means China’s developmental pipeline places it on a trajectory to exceed its own announced 1100 GW coal power cap through 2020.
CoalSwarm has stated that China should reverse the building process and to commit to its climate change commitments. Ted Nace, from CoalSwarm, told the BBC: "It's not too late for the central government to fix the problem, but they have to start cancelling projects, not just rescheduling them."
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