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Friday, October 24, 2014
China's coal use falls for first time this century
The amount of coal being burned by China has fallen for the first time this century, according to an analysis of official statistics.
China’s booming coal in the last decade has been the major contributor to the fast-rising carbon emissions that drive climate change, making the first fall a significant moment.
The amount of coal burned in the first three-quarters of 2014 was 1-2% lower than a year earlier, according to Greenpeace energy analysts in China. The drop contrasts sharply with the 5-10% annual growth rates seen since the early years of the century.
“The significance is that if the coal consumption growth we have seen in China in the last 10 years went on, we would lose any hope of bringing climate change under control,” said Lauri Myllyvirta at Greenpeace East Asia. “The turnaround now gives a window of opportunity.”
Ever cheaper renewables mean that the impact on GDP growth and living standards of a switch away from coal to clean power is negligible. China will install a record 20 GW of wind power alone this year. It's slapped a 6% tariff on imported coal. And it will have a carbon price from January 2016.