China has proclaimed bold goals of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060.
But if the country is to meet its climate goals, it is going to have to shut down 600 coal fired power plants and replace them with renewable energy, a new article from The Guardian points out.
A company called TransitionZero performed an analysis that the switch to renewables like wind and solar could also save $1.6 trillion over the time period, since renewables are now cheaper than coal.
China's coal consumption has long been in focus of the rest of the world. Despite its proclaimed goals, China "has ramped up plans for new coal-fired power stations in an effort to spur economic growth after the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic," the report notes.
Global climate "experts" are afraid that, despite the long term goals, China's next 10 years of coal power will overdraw the world's global carbon budget (which we guess is an actual thing?)
Matthew Gray, the co-chief executive of TransitionZero, commented: “If China fails on coal, the rest of the world will fail on containing dangerous climate change. But the stars are now somewhat aligning on breaking China’s addiction to coal.”
He also says the transition could be tough, as coal is "deeply embedded" in China's economy and society. But Gray says renewables could create as many jobs as would be lost from shuttering the country's coal plants. “Moving to net zero will be jobs intensive," he said.
Al Gore, who wrote a forward to the analysis (of course), stated: “This shows that not only can China meet their climate goals, the country and its leaders can accelerate them rapidly. The economic opportunity presented by a transition from coal to clean energy shows that climate action and economic growth go hand in hand.”
UN Secretary General António Guterres has also "urged" the country to move away from coal. China has plans to submit a new climate plan under the 2015 Paris Climate Accord this November.