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Reality Check: China’s Coal Consumption Rising Again

Financial Times

China’s appetite for coal increased last year due to a stimulus-driven economic uptick before its party congress, new numbers show, demonstrating how the country’s ambitious war on pollution is still second to political necessities.

China’s coal consumption rose 0.4 per cent in 2017, according to statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday. It is the first jump in coal energy consumption since 2013, when China declared a “war on pollution”.

The nudge upwards was largely due to a 5.7 per cent year on year increase in electricity demand in the run-up to a watershed political meeting between China’s top Communist party leaders in October….

China’s abundance of renewable energy capacity, particularly in hydropower had been able to satisfy rising energy demand in recent years. However, last year saw hydropower productivity drop 40 per cent. An especially cold winter and a natural gas shortage further increased coal demand.

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