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One major obstacle to China’s new climate goals: its thousands of new coal plants

Tom McDonnell of Quartz writes that in order for China to reach its lofty climate goals, it first needs to address its coal power plants.

The C3 Take

There’s a disconnect between China’s words and China’s actions. While we don’t have anything against coal or lofty goals — just carbon and heavy-handed government — in order to decarbonize by 2060, China would need to stop building coal-fired power plants. Instead, China is rapidly building new coal-fired capacity, so much that their new capacity alone is more than the United States’ existing capacity.

“One big part of this shift may prove particularly tricky: The country’s fleet of coal-fired power plants is relatively young. In the US, the average age of a coal plant is 39 years, which is pushing the typical lifespan of these facilities. In China it’s just 14, and because of the sheer number that have been built in recent years, newer plants account for the lion’s share of the sector’s emissions even though they tend to be more individually efficient than their ancestors.”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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