#1 cleantech news, reviews, & analysis site in the world. Subscribe today. The future is now.

Air Quality

Published on August 6th, 2014 | by Joshua S Hill


Beijing To Ban Coal By 2020

August 6th, 2014 by  

The Chinese state press agency, Xinhua, has reported that Beijing is looking to ban coal use by 2020 — a massive development in a country known for smoggy cities and developing world energy-usage.

“Beijing will ban coal sales and use in its six main districts and other regions by the end of 2020 to cut air pollution, local authorities said on Monday,” according to Xinhua, who remain one of the most effective means of getting information out of China (especially if you don’t speak or read a word of Chinese).

Xinhua quotes the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau as saying that the districts of Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chaoyang, Haidian, Fengtai and Shijingshan will be the first districts to stop using coal and its related products.

Furthermore,, clean energy is expected to replace coal in the districts, though the specifics of such a move are as yet unclear.

According to the Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) at the time of writing, pollution levels in Beijing are relatively “Good” — but these figures grow distressingly “Unhealthy” as you move further out from the city-center. As a whole, Beijing air pollution is ranking as ‘Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups’ — a regular occurrence the government would appear to want to change.

The changes are restricted to the immediate inner suburbs and city center (yellow and red below) — leaving the outer suburbs of Beijing and Rural Beijing (purple and green) untouched by the new plans.


It was announced late 2013 that China intends to move away from their dependence on massive coal exports from Australia — a decision which is not going to help Australia in the long run if Tony Abbott continues along his reckless path — and the country is already moving towards implementing one of the largest renewable energy programs.

As a developing country — even one as populous as China — renewable energy has been shown to be both economically and environmentally beneficial, and with China’s massive production capabilities we have already seen just how quickly the country will be able to turn this particular page in their history.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

  • JamesWimberley

    The Xinhua official news agency is a lot more than “one of the most effective means of getting information out of China.” China does not have a free press; the government is no longer Marxist in ideology, but it stays Leninist in its praxis. The agency is the leadership’s instrument for conveying policy decisions to the people. The capital city is being held up here as an example.

  • Alen

    Tony Abbott has long ago changed his tune from advertising China as Australia’s long-term coal exporting destination to India now being the demand growth centre, what he seems not to realise however is that India’s plan to reduce poverty through growth and electrification involves more RE and not coal. Modi has stated his solar goal a few times, and aside from this the simple logic is that even if large investments are made to expand the network and connect the poor in some remote locations, they are already struggling with income and simply do not have enough money to pay and stay connected. Introducing RE that has no or minimal upkeep cost seems to me like a much smarter way of helping the poor to gain a foothold and gain some wealth and regional development, than providing access to a service that although is newly available still is out of financial reach for the majority.
    I also am wondering which of the brave financial institutions will come out and back Adani in the Galilee coal project, aside from the financial risks they are agreeing to, there is going to be quite the negative media campaigns to deal with.

    • Ronald Brakels

      New wind and new solar capacity is cheaper than new coal capacity in Australia and the cost of lugging it all the way to India doesn’t make Australian coal any cheaper. Politicians saying that India will expand its coal imports is the same as saying, “I believe Indians are too stupid to realize what is in their own best interest.” Common Australians have realized what is in their interest and are continuing to install rooftop solar, but the people currently running the place are obviously extremly thick, and not in the useful Ernest Rutherford way which earned him a Noble Prize, but in the stupid, “If I deny reality enough it will magically change to what I say it should be,” way.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I suspect Modi is going to get behind micro-solar in a big way. He’s promised to get some electricity to every Indian household by 2019 even if it’s only enough to run one light bulb.

  • 196ski

    I would be very cautious on this one. Salon has reported that coal is going to be replace with synthetic natural gas, made from, you guessed it, coal. A fraction of the pollutants, but it also emits up to 82% more carbon dioxide and guzzles huge amounts of water.

    • Jeez, that is a huge downer. Please tell me someone got confused…

    • Mind you, the Chinese have less and less fresh water to spare for that sort of processing, so perhaps it won’t happen on a very large scale.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Australians are abandoning gas because we have better options. One important option is solar PV which we buy from China. Gas is even more expensive in China than it is in Australia. We know this because we sell it to them. So while various plans to produce synthetic fuels from coal in China are causes for concern, they don’t have good economic incentives to invest in them or if the capacity is built, to run them. Fingers crossed they are mostly a bluff to convince other powers that China can’t be effectively embargoed.

  • Matt

    China has claimed the the bad air in Beijing is not from the cola power plants but all the coal burners in the city. What isn’t clear is how many of those are in the red/yellow area of the map above verse the purple/green. Not knowing those %s means this could be anything from total change in Beijing to not much more than a indication and warning to the purple/green area that they better start cleaning up their act.

  • Steve Grinwis

    That would be a good thing for the world…

    • No way

      It really would, and even more so for the chinese. And it brings an end to all the “why should we do something when China doesn’t do anything about it?”-arguments. Let’s hope that USA/India/Germany tries to keep up.

Back to Top ↑