Agency: Desperate to ease electricity shortages ahead of winter, China is opening up new coal production exceeding what all of Western Europe mines in a year, at a tremendous cost to the global effort to fight climate change.
The campaign has unleashed a flurry of activity in China’s coal country, Shanxi Province. The region mined nearly a billion tons of coal last year, making up only about a quarter of China’s overall output, but still twice as much as the U.S. The goal nationwide is to produce 220 million metric tons a year of extra coal, a 6 percent increase from last year.
China is already by far the world’s largest coal producer. The additional production will help short-term growth, but it could impose a long-term cost on the Chinese economy. And it comes as world leaders are set to converge in Glasgow for a crucial climate summit, for which China did not boost climate targets.
Details: China’s extra coal by itself would increase humanity’s output of planet-warming carbon dioxide by a full percentage point, a climate researcher said, adding, “let’s hope it’s just a temporary measure to mitigate the current energy crisis.”
Safety: Rapid expansion also means more risks for coal miners. China’s National Mine Safety Administration said on Oct. 21 that 10 accidents had left 18 workers dead in the preceding four weeks.
Oil producers: Executives at the world’s biggest oil and gas companies are testifying before U.S. lawmakers over allegations that the companies for years downplayed the role that fossil fuels have in global warming.