China put 38.4 gigawatts (GW) of new coal-fired power capacity into operation in 2020, according to new international research, more than three times the amount built elsewhere around the world and potentially undermining its short-term climate goals, reported Reuters.
The country won praise last year after President Xi Jinping pledged to make the country “carbon neutral” by 2060. But regulators have since come under fire for failing to properly control the coal power sector, a major source of climate-warming greenhouse gas, said Reuters.
Including decommissions, China’s coal-fired fleet capacity rose by a net 29.8 GW in 2020, even as the rest of the world made cuts of 17.2 GW, according to research released on Wednesday by Global Energy Monitor (GEM), a US think tank, and the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
“The runaway expansion of coal-fired power is driven by electricity companies’ and local governments’ interest in maximising investment spending, more than a real need for new capacity,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, CREA lead analyst.