China’s plans for 50 coal gasification plants will produce an estimated 1.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year and contribute significantly to climate change, a report released by Greenpeace East Asia showed.
The plants, aimed in part at reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants in China’s largest cities, will shift that pollution to other regions, mostly in the north-west, and generate enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas produced by fossil fuels, said the Beijing-based organisation.
If China builds all 50 plants, the carbon dioxide they produce would equal about an eighth of China’s current total carbon dioxide emissions, which come mostly from coal-burning power plants and factories, it said.
Two of the plants have already been built as pilot projects, three more are under construction, 16 have been given the green light to be built and the rest are in various planning stages, said the report.
Last September, the government announced a plan to alleviate air pollution in China’s notoriously smoggy cities. The plan would reduce coal use in the most populated areas by 2017.
Since then, officials have been looking for other ways to provide power for those areas, including the building of many coal-to-gas plants, mostly in north-west China. They would take the place of current coal-burning power plants in China’s most populated areas, including the heavily-polluted northern region, which includes the cities of Beijing and Tianjin.