China taking CO2, RES lead as Trump’s US prepares to back coal industry

The Chinese government has decided to cancel plans concerning the construction of 104 new coal-fired power stations in 13 provinces, whose development would have provided an additional capacity of 120 GW. Placed within an international context, the decision is impressive. The total installed capacity of coal-fired units in the USA, preparing for a new administration led by the coal-friendly President-elect Donald Trump, amounts to 305 GW.

China’s objective, as announced by the government, is to spur renewable energy growth as a means of tackling the country’s pollution problem. Beijing intends to invest 365 billion dollars in RES development by 2020, which the Chinese government expects will create 13 million new jobs for the sector and provide an additional capacity of 130 GW through wind and solar farms. China has set itself the objective of generating 50 percent of the country’s electricity production through hydropower, RES and nuclear means, all free of CO2 emissions, within the next decade.

China’s decision to lessen its reliance on CO2-emitting electricity production possibly represents a pivotal point in the country’s energy and climate change history, while also being highly symbolic, as it comes just days ahead of the inauguration of Trump, who has repeatedly expressed strong support for fossil fuels, particularly coal. The Presiedent-elect has declared that he may choose to not honor the international climate change agreement reached in Paris just over a year ago. He also intends to nullify numerous RES-supporting initiatives taken by the outgoing President Barack Obama.