China’s love of COAL.

Photo: Gary Braasch

An organisation based in London calling itself Ethical Corporation has done a piece on China’s relationship with coal; China’s energy – How clean can clean coal be?.

Of course it talks about the importance of China being as up to date as possible with clean coal technology. It also drives home the point that China’s use of coal is not going to go away.

Some points from the article;
* At 188 billion tonnes, China has the world’s second largest coal reserves, next to the US.
* In 2005, China burned more than 1.2 billion tonnes of coal and emitted more carbon dioxide than the whole of Europe.
* Although coal’s share of the primary energy mix is projected to drop from 70% to 59% by 2030, booming demand for electricity will still see China burn twice as much coal then as it does today.
* China is by far the world’s largest producer of coal, accounting for 45% of global output.
* In 2006, China built an average of five 300 megawatt coal-fuelled power plants every week.

Efforts are being made;
‘Phase two of the Waigaoqiao plant (Shanghai), which has two 900MW generating units and uses turbines made by Siemens, is one of the most advanced coal-fired plants operating in China. With a net efficiency of more than 42% – significantly higher than the worldwide average of 31% for hard coal-fired units – it will save an annual one million tonnes of coal and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 2.1 million tonnes in comparison with a typical Chinese power station of the same size.’

More at the above link. The Ethical Corporation site is well worth checking out, as is this site ChinaDigitalTimes to which I first found the above information.

This entry was posted in Business, China, Climate change, Economics, Energy, Sustainablity, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to China’s love of COAL.

  1. the Grit says:


    Well, they don’t really have any acceptable choice. With several hundred million people screaming to move up a bit in their standard of living, another hundred million or so who are not going to give up their new found modern standard of living without a fight, and no “alternative” source of power available on that scale, the Leaders of China, who appear to want to keep both their jobs and their lives, are going to burn all the coal they can get their hands on.

    China does, however, present an interesting case study in just what chance the extreme environmental movement has at shutting down modern society. China, in just over a generation, has started moving from a primarily low tech agrarian society, to an industrialized society. Thus, most of their population has some experience with the horrors of the primitive life style. The fact that they are choosing to modernize, even in the face of the terrible environmental problems it is causing, speaks volumes. All of the efforts to stop this progression are futile, and would be better spent finding ways to deal with the effects.

    As Elton said, how are you going to keep them down on the farm…

    the Grit

  2. matt says:

    Yup, hence the point about the Waigaoqiao plant. It’s in their interests to get as much energy out of their resources as technology will allow. Also to improve on emissions so that they aren’t spending their hard earnt GDP on spiriling health care costs. Polluting their rivers and water courses willy nilly is just plain stupid because they’ll only have to spend loads of money on water treatment plants and expensive water diversion canals. The Chinese are beginning to realise this.

    Be rest assured they need no ‘extreme environmental movement’ to wake them up to their own problems. China already has a very proactive environmental control department, powerful enough to stop projects and rein people in. They’ve already done it.

    Extreme tofu (soya) eating environmentalists would do well to concentrate on their own Amazon rainforest destructive footprint. 🙂

  3. the Grit says:

    Hi matt,

    Well, being a totalitarian state, China does have an advantage in these things. After all, they don’t have to worry about such silly things as human rights and such. Thus, if they have to delay moving half a billion people out of abject poverty for a decade or two, it’s no big deal. Plus, it’s not like anyone is going to complain, more than once. For the moment at least.

    Of course, here in the free world, things are a bit more complicated, slower, but more efficient in the long run, as history consistently shows. If there is a market demand for “green” products, give it a bit of time and some one, some where, will provide them at a competitive price. Patience it seems, unfortunately, doesn’t appear to be the virtue it once was 🙂

    the Grit

  4. matt says:

    Yes, market demand with little subsidy. 😉

  5. buckyball says:

    Hi Grit

    the way you addressed China being a totalitarian state, shows your ignorance and being out of touch with reality. I suggest you re-educate yourself with world history, not the Western version, but the true full version, containing events of the far east.

    Also if you cannot make yourself living in East Asia for at least a year, take a trip there, visit China, India, Japan, Malaysia… dont do the sight seeing, but immerse yourself in people’s lives, try really hard to understand how people think and feel, how they live their lives, how they come about their belief systems and values.

    Only then, you have the rights to comment on affairs in the East and realise your NAIVE ILLUSION of your FREE WORLD! Are people really much happier in the FREE world?! does the abundance of materials really make people happier? does the UNEMPATHETIC charity from those self-proclaimed privileged people living in the FREE world really help deprived people in those so-labelled doomed “EVIL, BLACK, FANATICAL, COMMUNIST” states?

    u r just a spoiled loud mouth living in a “nice and fluffy” corner of the otherwise hard and cruel world!

  6. buckyball says:

    btw, i myself lived the first 14 years of my life in China, the other 10 years in Australia. i’m talking based on first hand real life experience, not out of some books or articles off the net!

  7. matt says:

    John Simpson, esteemed BBC reporter has just retrned to China to do a series of reports on how much China has changed (or not) since he was last there during the Tiananmen Square crack down

    I listened to his first report this morning which took advantage of a new law allowing foreign journalists to interview apparently anyone in China about apparently anything. Simpson was given access to the dissident who is said to have led the revolt into Tiananmen Square. This person quite happily said he believed he would be a part of elections in China within 10 years.

    Others in this report made similar noises including the guide showing Simpson around one of the communist buildings that don’t normally recieve foreigners. The reporter came away with the impression things will change and fairly soon.

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