China's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third year in a row, official information showed Tuesday, as the world's top carbon polluter has emerged as a global leader in addressing international warming.
The National Bureau of Statistics said the consumption of coal, a major source of heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, fell by 4.7 percent last year, according to preliminary calculations.
The bureau stated the share of coal in China's total energy consumption mix fell to 62 % in 2016 from 64 % the year ahead of. A revised figure in the China Energy Statistical Yearbook put the 2015 figure at 63.7 percent, but Tuesday's report referenced the preliminary figures reported last year.
When China is the world's biggest customer of coal, its consumption levels have dropped as financial development slows to its lowest level considering the fact that 1990. With its major cities gripped by choking air pollution, China has also aimed to reduce coal usage in favor of natural gas and renewable energy which includes hydro, wind and solar power.
Directives in January from the National Energy Administration ordered the cancellation of about one hundred coal-fired power plants planned across the country. Building had currently started on some.
As the world's second-largest economy, China is the top rated emitter of man-made carbon dioxide emissions, with the globe's major economy, the United States, in second place.
China's tackling of climate modify in collaboration with the United States beneath President Barack Obama was touted by Beijing and Washington as a bright spot in a relationship beset by trade and security tensions. Crucially, the two countries joined final year to endorse the landmark Paris Agreement on climate modify.
That limited partnership has now grown uncertain below new President Donald Trump, who has referred to as climate change a Chinese hoax and pledged to reverse Obama's efforts to curb emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Trump mentioned in the course of his campaign that he would "cancel" the Paris Agreement and withdraw American tax dollars from U.N. worldwide warming programs.
Greenpeace said an evaluation of data from the National Energy Administration showed an anticipated "considerable drop" in China's CO2 emissions of 1 percent this year, in what it stated would be the fourth consecutive year of zero development or a decline.
The decline "reinforces China's growing status as a international climate leader, and sends a robust signal to U.S. President Trump that his dirty energy agenda will send the American economy in the wrong path," Greenpeace said.
Lauri Myllyvirta, senior coal campaigner for Greenpeace, said China's stable and falling carbon emissions have "absolutely revolutionized the prospects for bringing international emissions and bringing climate alter under control."
"The two motives why international emissions have been steady for the past 3 years are no development in China and fast fall in emissions in the U.S., so that really shows what can be achieved when these two nations function together," Myllyvirta stated.
China's decline in coal use, on the other hand, did not signal an all round drop in power consumption. The country's total use of power rose by the equivalent of 4.36 billion tons of common coal, an increase of 1.4 percent over the prior year, the statistics bureau said. Consumption of crude oil increased by 5.5 % and organic gas by eight %, the bureau stated. General consumption of electrical energy from all sources rose by 5 percent, it stated.
Consumption of renewable sources accounted for 19.7 percent of the total power mix, up 1.7 percent from the year just before. When solar and wind power are increasing much more prominent, most renewable energy comes from dams whose environmental influence is beginning to draw a lot more focus. China has suspended approvals for new hydroelectric projects in the mountainous southwestern province of Yunnan following issues about the influence on the regional ecosystem.
Meanwhile, production of coal fell by 9 % to three.41 billion tons final year. China has for years been closing smaller sized, much less efficient and extra dangerous coal mines in a bid to boost productivity in the sector.
AP researcher Yu Bing and news assistant Liu Zheng contributed to this report.
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