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China To Cut CO2 Emissions? Don’t Hold Your Breath.

November 27, 2012

By Paul Homewood



Xie Zhenhua, China’s chief negotiator to the UN climate change talks, has told us not to expect cutbacks or even a freeze in China’s fossil fuel emissions any time soon.


According to state newswire Xinhua,


Xie explained that a country’s emissions will increase in tandem with economic growth, but when emissions peak, the level will remain stable for a time and then begin to drop, like an inverted "U."

China’s emissions are at the climbing stage, said Xie.

It’s unfair and unreasonable to hold China to absolute cuts in emissions at the present stage, when its per capita GDP stands at just $5,000 , Xie said.


Xie expects emissions to continue to rise until GDP reaches $20000 to $25000 per head. Experts predict that emissions will continue to rise until at least 2030.


None of this, of course, comes as any surprise at all. The New York Times reported, a couple of weeks ago,  Li Junfeng, long time director general of the National Development and Reform Commission of China,as saying that burning coal still costs about one-third as much as using renewable energy like wind or solar.

They add that :-

Global demand for coal is expected to grow to 8.9 billion tons by 2016 from 7.9 billion tons this year, with the bulk of new demand — about 700 million tons — coming from China, according to a Peabody Energy study. China is expected to add 240 gigawatts, the equivalent of adding about 160 new coal-fired plants to the 620 operating now, within four years. During that period, India will add an additional 70 gigawatts through more than 46 plants.


And it’s not just for electricity. The report continues:-

Use of metallurgical coal or coking coal, used in blast furnaces, is also expected to more than double in China, to about 1.7 billion metric tons by 2016, as the country’s steel mills churn out more steel for automobiles, skyscrapers and export goods, the Peabody study says.

Coking coal will be increasingly in demand in other steel centers like Brazil and India, pushing coal companies to scrounge for new reserves in places like Botswana, Mongolia and Mozambique.

In all, coal use is expected to increase 50%  by 2035, said Milton Catelin, chief executive of the World Coal Association in London.


Perhaps Weepy Bill McKibben should take his banners and go and protest in Tiananmen Square. (Hopefully he might even take the slow boat!)


  1. S. Davis permalink
    November 28, 2012 2:57 am

    When I tell people it is the “Golden Age of Coal”, they look at me like I am speaking Martian. There are 5 proposals for coal exporting facilities in Washington state. Germany is planning to build an enormous amount of coal burning electrical generation to bridge the gap as nuclear plants close down, but Germans will not let that information enter their minds. People seem to be so enamoured with a fantasy world that they fail to actually see the world that is.

  2. November 28, 2012 5:19 pm

    Don’t forget that coal is a finite resource. Like the British, the Chinese have used the easy-to-get-coal first. The cheap coal is running out.
    Now the Chinese will start using more and more coal from the Western regions and Mongolia. Literally mountains of coal will have to be moved from the Western mining regios to the powerplants and factories in the East. This will cost enormous amounts of diesel fuel for trucks and trains. I wonder how long the Chinese can keep this up.

    In the end the Chinese, like the British, will close their coal mines… for ever.

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