China Accounts for Two Thirds of World’s Planned New Coal Power

SINGAPORE (Reuters) — China accounted for more than two thirds of the world’s proposed new coal-fired power by the end of 2022, with 366 gigawatts (GW) of additional capacity either being planned or under construction, research showed on April 6.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has urged countries to stop building new plants and phase out coal consumption completely by 2040 in order to slash climate-warming carbon emissions and keep global temperature rises within 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.

But the amount of capacity planned or under construction around the world hit 537 GW last year, rebounding from a record low of 479 GW a year earlier, with China accounting for 68% of the total, according to a report by a group of think tanks led by the U.S.-based Global Energy Monitor (GEM).

“The more new coal projects come online, the steeper the cuts and commitments need to be in the future,” said GEM’s Flora Champenois, lead author of the report.

“At this rate, the transition away from existing and new coal isn’t happening fast enough to avoid climate chaos,” she said.

Outside China, planned new capacity fell 20% last year, with no projects proposed either in the European Union or North America. India accounted for 60.5 GW of the proposed capacity while Indonesia is planning to build another 26 GW.

Overall, worldwide coal-fired power capacity grew by 19.5 GW last year, with 45.5 GW of newly constructed capacity — mostly from China — offset by plant retirements totaling 26 GW.

China has pledged to start reducing coal consumption, but not until 2025. It has also vowed to bring its emissions — the world’s highest — to a peak by 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060.