Chinese officials say they will increase coal power capacity by 20 percent by 2020, despite the country’s commitment to an international climate change accord designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that China’s National Energy Administration is aiming for a 200-gigawatt increase in coal-fired electricity capacity in the country over the next four years.
Coal would generate 55 percent of the country’s electricity by 2020, the agency said. It also plans to boost non-fossil fuel power from 12 percent to 15 percent over the same period.
Officials, however, reportedly said they still hope to reduce coal’s position as the dominant power source in the country’s energy system, even if it means slowing down the approval process for coal-fired projects.
The new coal goals in China are notable given the country’s acceptance of an international climate change agreement. Under the Paris climate deal reached last year, China committed to cap its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, increase its renewable energy share to 20 percent of the market and reduce its ratio of carbon emissions-to-gross domestic product.
In the same climate deal, the Obama administration committed to reducing emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent by 2025.
The differing goals between the world’s two largest emitters — China agreeing to simply cap emissions while the U.S. said it would cut its greenhouse gases — angered opponents of the climate deal. Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE, for example, has said the structure of the plan favors emerging economies like China over the United States.
China formally joined the climate agreement in September during President Obama’s trip to the country.