The Corner

Energy & Environment

Thunberg’s (Slow) Boat to China?

Greta Thunberg is currently sailing back to Europe to participate in another UN-sponsored climate conference, but she might do better to change course — towards China.

The Financial Times reports (my emphasis added):

China is set to add new coal-fired power plants equivalent to the EU’s entire capacity, as the world’s biggest energy consumer ignores global pressure to rein in carbon emissions in its bid to boost a slowing economy.

Across the country, 148GW of coal-fired plants are either being built or are about to begin construction, according to a report from Global Energy Monitor, a non-profit group that monitors coal stations. The current capacity of the entire EU coal fleet is 149GW.

While the rest of the world has been largely reducing coal-powered capacity over the past two years, China is building so much coal power that it more than offsets the decline elsewhere.

Ted Nace, head of Global Energy Monitor, said the new coal plants would have a significant impact on China’s already-increasing carbon emissions.

“What is being built in China is single-handedly turning what would be the beginning of the decline of coal, into the continued growth of coal,” he said, adding that China was “swamping” global progress in bringing down emissions.

ABC (from September):

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., said the U.S. has made strides in limiting climate emissions and that China was taking the lead in releasing carbon emissions known to contribute to climate change.

“For everyone one ton of carbon emissions we produce in the United States,” Graves said during the hearing Wednesday. “China has increased by 4 tons, more than offsetting all the reductions that we have had in the United States.”

Thunberg responded that China’s emissions levels shouldn’t be an excuse for the U.S. to back off its own efforts to limit greenhouse gases.

Whether or not that is, as Thunberg put it, an “excuse” could be debated at a number of levels, but if the climate is indeed, as we are being told, in crisis, surely China is now badly in need of her attention.

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