China coal consumption could peak soon

China air pollutionThe People’s Republic of China is in the middle of a very serious situation as it is struggling with horrendous air pollution which in the Northern provinces cut life expectancy by over five years.

To avoid this from worsening even more, the local government has been investing heavily in the past and will invest more in the future in low carbon alternatives : negawatts ( energy efficiency ) and renewables.

Those very same renewables are getting cheaper and cheaper – reaching grid parity – while coal is only getting more and more expensive.

To accelerate the movement, a carbon tax will be enacted in 2015 to make coal even less competitive and appealing. Even with a forecast tax of only $1.60 per tonne of carbon, this will be a major shift.

As if it was not enough the Chinese government has proposed in June a game-changer, a climate breakthrough and a major step in battling climate change : a cap on greenhouse gas emissions as early as 2016

There is not a month passing by without a new measure unveiled to fight climate change in China. As several news sources reported this week, three of the most industrial regions of  the country – Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou – will ban new coal-fired plants to prevent air pollution from increasing even more.

As a result of all these measures, one could think that the consumption of the dirtiest fossil fuels of them all could peak soon.

And to a study carried out by Citibank, it pretty well could be the case as demand would flatten before 2020, or 15 years before as previously predicted.

To conclude : China is at long last tackling the problems of air pollution and climate change. Could the rich nations of the West just follow the lead ? It has been long stated by US politicians that their country wouldn’t move if China didn’t move first. I guess they can’t use this excuse anymore…

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