UPDATE 1-China 2018 coal consumption rises 1 pct, but share of total energy use falls
China’s coal consumption rose for a second consecutive year in 2018, but coal’s share of total energy consumption fell below 60 percent for the first time as cleaner energy sources gained ground, official data showed on Thursday.
The world’s biggest coal consumer used 1 percent more coal in absolute terms last year than in 2017, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said in its annual National Social and Economic Development communique. Coal consumption had risen for the first time in four years in 2017. However, coal accounted for only 59 percent of China’s overall energy consumption last year, down 1.4 percentage points from 2017, as China boosts the use of cleaner fuels such as natural gas and renewable energy.
That brings the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases closer to its target of reducing the proportion of coal in its energy mix to below 58 percent of total energy consumption by 2020. The share of gas, nuclear power and renewable energy sources combined increased by 1.3 percentage points to 22.1 percent of the total in 2018, the bureau said.
“The good news is that renewable energy continued to grow rapidly in 2018, and new aggressive air pollution policies were introduced,” Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at environmental group Greenpeace, said in a note. However, a rapid increase in energy consumption driven by government stimulus policies and fast growth in residential electricity usage still resulted in the biggest increase in CO2 emissions since at least 2013, Myllyvirta added.
The bureau did not provide tonnage figures for the different energy categories but said China’s total energy consumption rose by 3.3 percent year-on-year to 4.64 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent last year. Carbon dioxide emissions per 10,000 yuan ($1,497) worth of GDP, meanwhile, fell by 4 percent last year, the bureau said.
China is aiming to cap its carbon emissions by around 2030. ($1 = 6.6788 Chinese yuan renminbi)