Reports this week based on news from China’s official Xinhua news agency have revealed that China’s capital of Beijing is planning to further cut coal consumption by 30% this year as part of the city’s larger efforts to tackle air pollution.
Coal use in China, especially in its capital of Beijing, has long been a hot topic for environmentalists and clean technology advocates. Stereotypical images of cities blanketed in smog remain the first image most people think of when they hear the words ‘China’ and ‘coal’ in the same sentence. However, as of late — though there are still many miles to go — China has emerged as one of the countries doing the most to mitigate and reduce its coal consumption.
In August of 2014, Beijing announced that it was looking to completely ban coal use by 2020. “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,” the state-run news agency Xinhua announced. The news was followed a few days later by the revelation that Beijing had already cut coal use by 7%.
In March of 2015, Beijing announced that it was going to close its four major coal-fired power plants in 2016.
On a larger scale, over the past few months, China has made several moves to close a massive number of coal power plants. In October, China scrapped 17 gigawatts (GW) worth of coal-fired power plants, which included ten plants which were only under construction. The move was followed in January by a further announcement that China would scrap 104 under-construction and planned coal power projects, totaling 120 GW.
All of this leads us to see that it is no real surprise, then, that Beijing has announced plans to cut coal consumption by 30% this year as part of its efforts to further tackle the tremendous air pollution issue. The Xinhua news agency said that the city will implement “extraordinary” measures to reduce smog levels. “We will try to basically realise zero coal use in six major districts and in Beijing’s southern plain areas this year,” Beijing’s major Cai Qi was quoted as saying, before adding that the city is also aiming to eliminate small coal-fired boilers.
Cai said that the new coal cuts will reduce coal usage in the city to less than 7 million tonnes in 2017.
In addition, Cai said the city is also aiming to take 300,000 obsolete vehicles off the road this year to raise fuel standards and to promote more efficient cars.