China may be trying to clean up its energy sector through the installation of numerous wind and solar power facilities, but that does not change the fact that a number of coal-fired power plants continue to be built in the country.
Indeed, despite its ongoing drive to make renewables the primary power source for the nation’s massive electricity requirement, the number of coal-powered plants is growing at an alarming rate.
A Socio-political Conundrum
Currently, China’s energy sector is responsible for about one-third of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions currently polluting the world, seeing how coal remains the dirtiest and most toxic of the fossil fuels that continue to be in use.
This concern was raised during recent discussions between former United States senator and current presidential special envoy for climate change John Kerry with Xie Zhenhua, minister of China’s Climate and Clean Air Coalition. Held last November 3rd at Sunnylands in Southern California, much of the conversation between the two environmental advocates revolved around their respective nations’ measures for mitigating the impact of climate change.
The two nations’ measures for dealing with such a critical issue are seen as a barometer for the environmental state of the planet. Being the most industrialized nation on Earth, China is the largest contributor to environmental pollution. The United States, on the other hand, has been responsible for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere for the better part of 200 years.
A Valiant Effort
Admittedly, China’s sheer size alone in terms of land area and population means that the use of renewables may not be enough to deliver the country’s power requirements in the years to come. But despite this reality, the country has worked tirelessly to augment the number of facilities generating electricity from renewable sources.
Back in 2020, Xi announced that his country hoped to triple the capacity of both solar and wind facilities by the end of the current decade. Experts who have kept an eye on China’s renewable power sector say that the country is on the right track and may achieve its goal around late 2024.