Shenyang, northeast China, Nov. 8, 2015: a Chinese family rides an electric bike in heavy smog (source: dpa)

Coal to remain king in China, despite ambitious climate policies

The success of the recent COP21 climate deal will depend on efforts by China to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s largest consumer of coal and emitter of carbon dioxide (CO2) recently introduced a set of initiatives aimed at a “green energy” transformation. These measures, however, conflict with China’s more basic economic imperatives and the realities of the country’s energy sector. As Chinese leaders seek to protect their legitimacy, they will probably prioritize economic growth, even if that means shelving the most far-reaching energy reforms.

China is the single most influential player on global energy markets, and that will remain true for decades to come. The coun...

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Dr. Frank Umbach
Recent reforms, including huge new subsidies for domestic and foreign firms, have made China the world’s biggest investor in renewable energy. Nevertheless, it is doubtful that Beijing can meet its own targets for energy efficiency
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