China says coal consumption falls for third year

February 28, 2017
The burning of coal for electricity and heating is the main cause of China's notorious smog which has caused increasing public discontent

China's world-leading coal consumption fell for the third straight year in 2016, government data showed Tuesday, as the planet's biggest carbon emitter struggles to break its addiction to the heavily polluting fuel.

Coal consumption fell by 4.7 percent year-on-year in 2016, and the share of coal in the country's energy mix slipped to 62.0 percent, down 2.0 percent year-on-year, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report.

Overall coal production also fell, dropping 9.0 percent to 3.41 billion tonnes in 2016.

The data suggests that "coal consumption probably peaked around 2014," according to a statement from environmental group China Dialogue.

It added that "there is still some concern about a 'rebound' in coal demand if China continues to stimulate its economy by infrastructure investment".

In December China said it would reduce its annual coal production capacity by 800 million tonnes, the official Xinhua news agency reported, as the country tries to tackle unsafe and inefficient mines and reduce pollution.

The burning of coal for electricity and heating contributes most of China's and is the main cause of its notorious smog.

Severe smog has caused increasing public discontent, particularly in winter, when large swathes of the northeast are often choked by bad air.

The government has vowed to reduce consumption of polluting energy sources, but the move also has an economic logic.

Many of the country's giant state-owned mining firms are now unviable and plagued by overcapacity, leading the government to curb output.

Explore further: China risks wasting $490 bn on coal plants: campaigners

Related Stories

China risks wasting $490 bn on coal plants: campaigners

November 28, 2016

China could waste as much as half a trillion dollars on unnecessary new coal-fired power stations, a climate campaign group said Monday, arguing the world's top carbon polluter already has more than enough such facilities.

China coal consumption drops again: govt

February 29, 2016

China's coal consumption fell for the second year in a row, government data showed Monday, as the world's biggest polluter attempts to tackle chronic pollution that accompanied economic growth.

Recommended for you

Coral reef 'oases' offer glimmer of hope

June 18, 2018

The identification of small 'oases' in the world's oceans, where corals appear to be thriving, could offer vital insights in the race to save one of the world's most threatened ecosystems.

Checking China's pollution by satellite

June 18, 2018

Air pollution has smothered China's cities in recent decades. In response, the Chinese government has implemented measures to clean up its skies. But are those policies effective? Now an innovative study co-authored by an ...

Marine reserves are vital—but under pressure

June 18, 2018

A massive study of nearly 1800 tropical coral reefs around the world has found that marine reserves near heavily populated areas struggle to do their job—but are a vast improvement over having no protection at all.

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gkam
1 / 5 (3) Mar 08, 2017
Put the Party Headquarters downwind of a coal plant and wait.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.