China to declare war on smog

Pollution in ChinaNot so long ago, a much larger proportion of Chinese citizens was poor. From 1981 to 2008, the poverty rate was slashed from 85 percent to 13 percent. But this was rapid economic development has had a toll on the environment.

Nowadays, the air quality in the capital city of Beijing is “somewhat similar to a nuclear winter” as a Chinese crop scientist quoted in Treehugger remarked. But this might change soon as the local government is well aware of this situation.

Indeed, we have seen extensively how China is moving massively on energy efficiency, renewables such as solar and wind and on closing dirty and inefficient coal-fired plants.

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Chinese coal consumption is slowing

Smog in ChinaThis could be world-changing news. According to Xinhua, the Chinese State media agency :China’s coal consumption growth slowed in 2013, with the price of coal declining, according to the China National Coal Association

Several factors are explaining this : old inefficient coal-fired plants are being closed and replaced by more efficient ones, environmental protection is being strengthened and the economic growth of the country as a whole is slowing down.

As a result, coal consumption in China grew by 2.6 percent only last year, a huge change from the 9%  or more annual growth witnessed in 2009.

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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.

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The beginning of the end for coal

Emissions from a coal-fired plantCarl Pope, the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club published an article on the very topic last week as the World Bank and the US government announced they wouldn’t fund coal anymore.

But this week, there was another third blow on financing coal. As The Guardian reported : ” The European Investment Bank (EIB), the main lending arm of the European Union, has decided to stop financing most coal-fired power plants.

The EIB mostly lends money to European nations. I guess this will make it difficult for Eastern European nations to finance new coal-fired plants.

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Half of electricity at UK businesses is wasted

This is so mindbogglingly big that I had to write about it. To Cleantechies : ” A UK report says that nearly half of the electricity consumed by British businesses is wasted when employees are not at work.”

” In an analysis of more than 6,000 smart meters, British Gas found that 46 percent of electricity use occurs from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., when most businesses are typically closed.”

” Common examples of unnecessary electricity use include the lighting of parking areas during weekends, keeping the lights on at retail stores even after shopping centers are closed. “

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Coal decreases in US electricity mix

TreeHugger recently rejoiced as for the first time in over thirty years, coal has accounted for less than 40 percent of the local electricity mix. This is good news as coal is the most greenhouse gases emitting fossil fuel. This steady and continuous decrease can be explained mainly by the increased production of local natural … Read more

Air pollution costs billions to the European Union

Here is my latest post on Cleantechies :  “The European Environment Agency published in November a report on the cost, the toll, of air pollution due to industrial facilities to the European Union. “ ” And the costs are staggering as the 10,000 facilities induced up to 102 and 169 billion euros in 2009 alone. … Read more

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