Coal is also key. Burning coal is the single largest source of CO2 emissions globally. So news from China that it is cancelling 150 GW (gigawatts) of new coal capacity is excellent. Late last year and early this year, China cancelled 137 GW of new and under-construction coal power stations, taking total cancellations up to 287 GW. Current coal generation capacity is 900 GW, so the equivalent of 30% of current coal capacity has been cancelled.
Coal demand has already fallen in China, down 1.3% in 2014, 3.7% in 2015 and 4.7% in 2016. Since coal is being partly replaced by gas, which produces half the CO2 that coal does when it is burned, while oil demand is rising as China's car fleet rapidly expands, total emissions haven't fallen. The rising percentage of EVs and PHEVs in new car sales will at some point cause oil demand to decline, but gas demand is likely to keep on rising, perhaps for another decade, until more CSP plants are built and grid batteries become a lot cheaper.
We're on the right road, and our speed down it is accelerating, but we are still a long way from the end.
China Halts Construction On 150 Gigawatts Of New Coal Power Plants
Renewables Boom as China Halts or Eliminates Another 170 Gigawatts of Coal Power Plants