China has introduced new coal plant efficiency standards in a bid to curb local air pollution, which will cut CO2 emissions 180 million tonnes a year by 2020 as a side effect, state-owned Xinhua news agency reported Wednesday.
The State Council, China’s cabinet, introduced the new rules to help meet a new target of cutting emissions of air pollutants such as sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide 60% by the end of the decade.
Air pollution levels in Beijing have spiked this week, blanketing the city in smog and forcing some international schools to close just as China’s delegation arrived in Paris hoping to play a crucial role in negotiating a new global climate change treaty.
The new standards will improve the energy efficiency of coal plants, causing less coal to be burnt, Xinhua reported. As a result, CO2 emissions slightly above the Netherlands’ annual output will be saved.
Coal consumption in China fell 4% year-on-year in the first ten months of 2015, and the new regulations will most likely help speed up the trend of falling coal use, increasing the chances that China will comfortably meet its target of peaking GHG emissions by 2030.
“We’re seeing a remarkable decline in Chinese CO2 emissions from coal since last year. We’re also seeing a slowdown in the growth of power demand, while renewables are doing so much to meet the energy needs of China,” said Li Yan, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace China.
“There’s no doubt that China is still a huge contributor to global carbon emissions, but there’s also hope that the link between economic growth and CO2 is being weakened.”
By Stian Reklev – firstname.lastname@example.org