Executive Briefings

China Softens Coal Focus in Bid to Clean Up Its Skies

China's government pledged to dramatically slow a coal-power building binge that is threatening its environment, saying it would shut down dozens of coal-power plants and stop some new construction.

In his annual report, Premier Li Keqiang said China would eliminate more than 50 gigawatts of coal-power capacity - equivalent to more than the entire capacity of South Africa - through the new measures.

Additionally, he said China would eliminate more than 150 million metric tons of coal capacity this year, after cutting 290 million metric tons last year.

Taken together, the figures help illustrate efforts under way in China to wean itself off a heavy reliance on coal for power and industry — a key source of pollution afflicting many cities — and shift the economy to cleaner sources of energy.

At the same time, leaders know they must take care to ensure that job losses don’t threaten social stability. Last year, the government said 1.8 million jobs could be lost by restructuring of the coal and steel sectors.

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In his annual report, Premier Li Keqiang said China would eliminate more than 50 gigawatts of coal-power capacity - equivalent to more than the entire capacity of South Africa - through the new measures.

Additionally, he said China would eliminate more than 150 million metric tons of coal capacity this year, after cutting 290 million metric tons last year.

Taken together, the figures help illustrate efforts under way in China to wean itself off a heavy reliance on coal for power and industry — a key source of pollution afflicting many cities — and shift the economy to cleaner sources of energy.

At the same time, leaders know they must take care to ensure that job losses don’t threaten social stability. Last year, the government said 1.8 million jobs could be lost by restructuring of the coal and steel sectors.

Read Full Article