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Pipeline of polluting coal and steel projects revealed in China – report

China is failing to advance renewable energy installations while boosting its pipeline of polluting projects, reveals a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

New coal power and steel projects announced in China in the first half of 2021 will emit CO2 equivalent to the Netherlands’ total annual emissions, reveals research organisation the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).

Chinese coal miners at a coal plant in Huaibei, Anhui province, east China, in November 2015. (Photo by Frame China via Shutterstock)

A total of 18 new blast furnace projects and 43 new coal-fired power plant units were announced; if approved and built, they will emit an estimated 150 million tonnes of CO2 a year, the report states.

Zero-emission power generation covered only 30% of China’s increased demand for power from the first half of 2019 to the first half of 2021, CREA says. Investment in renewables and nuclear would have to triple to keep up with the current growth in demand, yet newly installed wind, solar and nuclear capacity all fell from 2020 levels, it warns.

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China's proposal to peak CO2 emissions from steel production by 2025 and reduce them by 30% from that peak by 2030, will only be possible through a major shift towards recycled steel production or hydrogen-based steelmaking, the report says.

However, there has been no progress on either during the past ten years, the report notes.