China must end the construction of all new coal-fired power plants in order to meet long-term climate goals in the most economically feasible manner, according to a study co-authored by a government-backed research institute, reported Reuters.
China’s energy strategy over the next decade is under close scrutiny as it aims to bring climate warming carbon emissions to a peak by 2030 and fulfill a pledge made as part of the 2015 Paris agreement. But with economic growth at its slowest pace in nearly 30 years, Beijing has continued to approve new coal-fired plants, raising fears the world’s biggest producer of greenhouse gas is backtracking on its commitments.
Beijing is capable of phasing out coal to help meet a global target to keep temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, but only if it embarks on a “structured and sustainable” closure strategy to minimize the economic impact, according to the study by Chinese government researchers and the University of Maryland Center for Global Sustainability published on Monday.
The report, which evaluated more than 1,000 existing coal-fired power plants, said China must first end new construction and then rapidly close older and inefficient plants. As much as 112 gigawatts does not meet environmental standards and could be shut down immediately, it said.