The fossil fuel that once eclipsed the world at the turn of the 20th century, is now being battered by the green energy revolution. Today, the economic outlook for coal is windswept, partly because of the momentum to destabilize the effects of climate change. In fast-growing developing economies like India and China, the secular movement towards clean energy is driven by environmental needs and technological advances. The scenario suggests green energy revolution is taking root swiftly than analysts estimated. Global carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels may wane after 2026, a sharp contrast with the International Energy Agency’s central forecast, which sees emissions rising steadily for decades to come. The key driving factor remains to be the mounting government and societal pressure to shift to cleaner, carbon-free fuels.
BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2017, released this week, noted that China is playing a monumental role in the slowing of fossil fuel energy consumption. Chinese coal production has dropped for three consecutive years, concurring with the decelerating industrial growth.
China’s War on Coal
At the beginning of 2016, China decreed a series of clean energy policies to reduce a supply glut. This included the closing of 1,000 coal mines and limiting mining days in order to improve the profitability of the ones that remained operational.
Coal production in China, by far, has seen the biggest fall. Coal prices dramatically by 60 percent in 2016. The inflated prices suppressed coal consumption in China and worldwide.
Currently, China is the global leader in renewable energy production. It accounted for 40 percent of all global growth in clean energy in 2016.
Clean Energy Mix
China’s green energy policies may be ephemeral. However, coal is not likely to recover from the long-term changes that are occurring simultaneously. For instance, the decline in renewables cost has led to a surge in inclination for renewables in developing nations such as India. The strong growth in India and China has helped to push Asia-Pacific region past North America and Europe as the world leader in green energy.
China still has a voracious appetite for coal. In fact, about two-thirds of its energy is coal power. It plans to pull this number below 50 percent over the next decade or two. Of course, it’s no secret that China is the most valuable player in the green energy sector. It’s going full speed into clean energy with a $360 million investment by 2020. According to ThinkProgress, cleantech jobs will account for the highest paying jobs in China, Europe, and the US. China expects 13 million jobs in the renewable energy sector within three years.