China Produces More Coal, Greenpeace Cries Foul

(REUTERS/Jacky Naegelen)

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Greenpeace activists in East Asia said Wednesday China is maxing out coal production, despite promises the country made to wean itself off the energy source.

The environmental group claimed the communist country has 210 oil power plants at the ready — of those projects, 95 of them have received regulatory permits.

“There is a very rapid and accelerating net increase in coal-fired generating capacity,” Lauri Myllyvirta, the head of Greenpeace’s anti-oil campaign, told Reuters Tuesday.

Greenpeace’s criticisms might be a reaction to China’s initial decision in February to peel back its coal production — nearly 70 percent of China’s energy comes from coal-fired plants.

The country’s National Energy Administration (NEA) posted a notice on its website Feb. 22 announcing a move to close down 1,000 coal mines as part of a plan to slice as much as 500 million tons of excess coal production within the decade.

China promised to stop approving new coal mining projects for the next three years. As of last year, mines produced 3.7 million tons of coal and a surplus of two billion tons per year.

President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping forged an agreement in 2014 to cut U.S. carbon emission by 26 to 28 percent by 2025 and Chinese emissions by 2030. China has further made promises to switch to nuclear, wind and solar power as a means of stifling pollutants in its energy sector by 60 percent by 2020.

China also planned on shuttering 5,600 of its 10,760 coal mines under a policy meant to reduce mines producing less than 90,000 tons a year, the China National Coal Association reported in February.

The communist country has long been cagey about its coal usage.

Reports from The New York Times last year show China used about 17 percent more coal than initially claimed.

“Even for a country of China’s size, the scale of the correction is immense,” The NYT reported. “The increase alone is greater than the whole German economy emits annually from fossil fuels.”

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