• China sets updated carbon intensity and renewables goals, while study suggests it should close non-CCS-equipped coal-fired plants by 2040-45

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Analysis by US-based think tank Energy Foundation has suggested that to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2060, China would need to close all non-carbon capture and storage-equipped coal-fired power plants by 2040-2045. The electricity sector as a whole in China would need to be carbon neutral or negative by 2050, and starting almost immediately, the country would need to start shutting down small-scale coal-fired industrial kilns and boilers. The last sector to be decarbonised would probably be steel production. Interestingly, and in line with other studies, the authors expect China’s carbon-equivalent emissions to peak around 2025.

The news comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a new target for cutting carbon dioxide intensity by more than 65% from 2005 levels by 2030. The previous target was between 60-65% by the same date, making the new target a marginal but welcome improvement. Additionally, China is now targeting a non-fossil fuel share in the energy sector of 25% by 2030, up from the previous 20%, and this will include increasing installed solar and wind capacity to 1,200 GW, up from the 414 GW of 2019. At the same virtual UN summit, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on all nations to declare a climate emergency, going on to say that the “trillions of dollars needed for Covid recovery is money that we are borrowing from future generations“, and that it constitutes a “moral test.”