China’s coal-fired steel mills surge, putting growth ahead of the climate

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Climate change update

The expansion of China’s coal-fired steel plants accelerated sharply in the first half of 2021, exposing the government’s unwillingness to sacrifice industry-driven growth to meet its climate goals.

The analysis approved by the Chinese government by the Finnish advocacy organization Energy and Clean Air Research Center found that 18 steelmaking blast furnaces and 43 coal-fired power plants were announced in the first half of this year.

As steel Price surgeCREA found that 35 million tons of coal-dependent ironmaking capacity was announced in the first half of 2021, exceeding the full year of 2020.

If completed, the coal and steel joint project will emit about 150 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, equivalent to the total emissions of the Netherlands.

Lauri Myllyvirta, chief analyst at CREA, said that the increase in blast furnace approvals indicates that “steel manufacturers have not yet received a memorandum on reducing carbon emissions.” The industry may not be able to achieve the 2020 goal of limiting 2021 production to the same level as last year.

Because Steelmaking It is China’s second largest source of carbon emissions. “If steel is not reduced by 30%, I can’t see the mathematical calculations for reaching the carbon peak in 2030”. He said that the most reasonable way to achieve this goal is to reduce production.

President Xi Jinping promises that China will reach the peak of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 Achieve net zero emissions By 2060. But climate activists worry that this ambition is not reflected as a clear goal in authoritative economic planning documents.

As a sign of leadership Cautious restraint For polluting industries, the Politburo of the Communist Party of China this month warned local governments not to adopt “campaign-style” emission reduction measures.

Steel price Plummet After Tangshan, a major steel production hub 180 kilometers east of Beijing, announced a production cut, it is expected to cut production.

Limited production this year after industrial pollution Overshadowed In March, the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress of China.

Another analysis released by Greenpeace this month shows that most of the government-led stimulus measures after the coronavirus lockdown are director Traditional infrastructure projects, this is a major driver of pollution.

According to Greenpeace analysis, up to 90% of Covid-19 relief government bonds are used for general infrastructure, while 60% of new municipal bonds are used for construction and other infrastructure, and 15% are used for discovery of green, sustainable or low-carbon projects .

A ubiquitous summer Electricity rationing After local governments in manufacturing centers such as Guangdong ordered factories to reduce operating hours to avoid shortages, the surge in demand caused Beijing to hesitate to cut coal-fired generating sets even more.

In recent weeks, since the virus first appeared in Wuhan, the most serious recurrence of coronavirus cases caused by the rapid spread of the Delta variant has also appeared. Start weighing About growth.

Myllyvirta said: “As the latest epidemic now threatens economic setbacks, we can expect more construction stimulus measures to offset this.” “The problems of growth and emission targets have not disappeared as quickly as we hoped.”

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