top of page

Excerpted from the WSJ [9/13/22] and Reuters [3/10/22] and other sources.

Anything the U.S. and Europe do to reduce emissions will have little impact on worldwide emissions and CO2 output. Under the Paris climate agreement (non-binding) China can increase its emissions until 2030. According to the Climate Action Tracker, China's emissions increased by 11% during the past six years while those in the U.S. reduced by 6%.

The U.S. currently gets 18% of its electricity from coal-fired plants, while China obtains 64% from coal. The nonprofit Global Energy Monitor [GEM] identified 258 coal-fired power stations proposed, permitted or under construction in China. When completed, that's 290 gigawatts of coal-fired electricity. Compare what's under construction in China (290gw) versus what's currently operating in the U.S. (210gw). GEM also found that China has 174 new coal mines or mine expansions proposed, permitted or under construction.

Since China signed the Paris climate agreement in 2015, their coal-fired capacity has increased by 185gw - compare that again to what's currently produced in the U.S. (210gw). The U.S. decreased coal capacity by 80gw - hence, in that time period, China's increase was more than double the U.S. decrease. These new plants will have a lifetime of 30+ years; they weren't built only to be decommissioned shortly after construction...


What U.S. energy source has replaced the vast majority of the coal-fired capacity? Natural Gas - which now accounts for 43% of of our electricity - and the coal/gas switching accounts for almost all of the greenhouse gas reductions in our country.

"The reason for China's coal boom is obvious: The Communist Party's priority is economic growth, higher living standards, and becoming the world's leading power. Carbon emissions are an afterthought, and promises of future reductions are [meant to placate Western countries]." Following a speech by President Xi Jinping reiterating the importance of coal, Chinese delegates from across the country called for more investment in coal technology and new policies to shore up profits for coal enterprises. Xi said China was "rich in coal, poor in oil and short of gas" and "could not part from reality." Any Chinese transition from coal to natural gas will be decades away and massively expensive. China burns coal because it is sourced internally, and cheap. 

There is a stark contrast between the current U.S. policy of hampering and restricting fossil fuels and Beijing charging ahead with coal imports, coal mining and coal power. "They must marvel at their good fortune in having rivals who are so self-destructive."

bottom of page