Is China kind to future generations

: China surprises again with positive climate figures

03.03.2017 - With the Paris Climate Agreement, China has committed itself to the climax of its CO by 2030 at the latest2-Emissions, now it is clear: The summit has apparently already been reached, because for the fourth time in a row, the People's Republic is expecting stable or falling greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace is even assuming a decrease of one percent for 2017. And coal consumption is also developing differently than originally estimated. In 2014, the International Energy Agency (IEA) assumed that China's hunger for coal would increase steadily until 2030. The official figures now show: For the third year in a row, coal consumption has fallen. Greenpeace speaks of a decrease of 1.3 percent, official sources even assume 4.7 percent.

The numbers give the world hope that it will actually be able to decisively contain climate change. Because China plays the most important role: With a share of 27 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the gigantic empire with its rapidly growing economy in recent decades emits more harmful greenhouse gases than the USA (14 percent) and the EU (10 percent) together.

Strong expansion of renewable energies

The Chinese leadership is determined to continue the fight against climate change and massive air pollution in the megacities and is also claiming international leadership. At the World Economic Forum in Davos in mid-January, President Xi Jinping presented himself as an opponent to the new US President Donald Trump - not only on trade but also on climate issues. Turning away from international climate protection endangers future generations, said Xi. Energy experts expect China to take the lead if the US defaults under Trump.

The positive development in China is being driven in particular by the slower growing economy and the energy transition, which is heavily controlled by the government. The People's Republic has long since taken the lead in expanding renewable energies and is overshadowing the rest of the world. Because there is still a lot to be done: the share of coal in total energy consumption is still 62 percent, but has fallen by two percentage points within a year. The share of renewable energies rose to almost the same extent to 19.7 percent.

This is noticeable: the country's coal-fired power plants are less busy, more than 100 new coal-fired power plants - including reactors already under construction - have been stopped by Beijing. In 2016, new photovoltaic capacities of almost 35 gigawatts (GW) were connected to the grid, in Germany it was just over 1.5 GW. cw