The pandemic is currently not the only serious threat to the world. Temporarily removed from headlines, yet still unsolved – the climate change issue is another one. Naturally, without crucial changes, coal still holds the title of the most significant pollution source.
Unfortunately, Chinese energetics is fueled mostly with coal. At the end of last year, notifying a little decrease, coal energy amounted to 58% of overall Chinese energy production. Despite the percentage decreasing, the real amount of its usage is still rising, as the demand for energy increases in order to meet the demand of fast growing economy. In effect, China remains the largest CO2 emitter in the world, being responsible for 30% of its global emission.
The Chinese Communist Party seems to be aware of that problem and doesn’t stand idle. In several areas of China, environment pollution became so huge, that it obstructed further economic development and destabilized affected societies. Concerned by that, Chinese authorities introduced differentiated measures aiming to vastly reduce CO2 emissions, consisting mainly of introducing restrictive law regulations and increasing state investments into innovative technologies, such as the “clean coal” technology.
Abandoning coal is not that simple, though. The energy sector is tightly connected with state security affairs, so drastic reform could leave the Middle Kingdom shaken up. Replacing the entire energy infrastructure in a short amount of time is virtually impossible. If China were to do that, they would have to start importing its energy from the outside, and no rising power wants to become energy-dependent. Additionally, over a dozen million people across the country work in coal power plants and related industry. Simply moving them to work in other industries proves to be an enormous challenge for China’s leaders, and Thatcherian solutions simply won’t work in a country that is responsible for the social stability of 20% of world’s population.
We encourage you to read a book written by Łukasz Gacek, “Bezpieczeństwo energetyczne Chin”, in which comprehensive analysis about the Chinese coal energy sector is carried out.
Anatol Jaśkowiec