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China puts growth ahead of climate with surge in coal-powered steel mills and power plants

Financial Times

China’s expansion of coal-powered steel mills accelerated sharply in the first half of 2021, exposing the government’s reluctance to sacrifice industry-fuelled growth to achieve its climate goals.

Analysis of Chinese government approvals by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, a Finland-based advocacy group, found that 18 steelmaking blast furnaces and 43 coal-fired power plants were announced in the first half of this year. 

As steel prices surged, 35m tonnes of coal-dependent ironmaking capacity was announced in the first half of 2021, more than in all of 2020, CREA found.

If built, the combined coal and steel projects would emit about 150m tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the total emissions of the Netherlands. [….]

In a sign of the leadership’s caution towards restraining polluting industries, the Communist party’s Politburo this month warned against “campaign-style” efforts by local governments to reduce emissions.

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