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China wants to Become Net-Zero by 2060, but keeps Expanding its Terawatt Coal Power Fleet

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China recently announced that it will become net carbon zero by 2060 after reaching peak carbon emission by 2030. The country’s announcement has come in the backdrop of renewed climate change commitments from governments around the world many of which have announced that they will become net carbon zero by 2050 or earlier. Even large corporates such as Apple, Amazon etc. have also made pledges to become carbon zero with large investments being made in renewable energy and clean transportation. As the deleterious effects of climate change become more and more apparent with wildfires, floods, cyclones devasting large sections of the globe, the pressure has increased to a breaking point. However, China despite its pledge has made the biggest coal plant capacity expansion announcements this year.

China is by far the largest producer and user of coal and has a total capacity of more than 1000 GW of cola power plants. Many of these power plants run at low utilization factors of 50% but still, the country keeps expanding the dirty fuels’ capacity. The government claims that the new plants will be cleaner and more efficient than the older plants, but facts show that the change is only incremental. China is already the largest producer and user of solar and wind energy. However, the country’s dirty fuel expansion has continued to grow and dwarves its clean energy gains. China in the recent past has also reduced its climate change support by decreasing or removing the subsidies being given to solar and wind energy. The country’s huge support to the EV industry has also been drastically curtailed. China will be amongst the worst affected countries due to climate change effects as it already faces a severe food shortage. With extreme weather effects, flooding and droughts will increase the pressure on its agricultural sector leading to the prospect of high food prices and social unrest.

China is now the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world tripling the amount of GHG emissions in the last 20 years as the country rapidly industrialized and climbed up the prosperity ladder. The Middle Kingdom will have to be a serious player in acting against climate change if the global warming is to be curtailed and the extreme scenarios of global warming are to be prevented.


Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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