The authors say China must close 588 coal-fired power plants during a decade to satisfy climate pledges – but they insist the move will save cash.
That’s because renewables are now such a lot cheaper than coal.
It mirrors things within the US, where coal tumbled from being the foremost cost-effective major fuel to the most expensive.
China is currently running 1,058 coal plants – quite half the world’s capacity.
The authors of the report from the climate think tank, TransitionZero, say to meet its stated goal of becoming “carbon neutral” by 2060, China must take radical action now.
China has announced its building five new nuclear stations to provide clean power – and President Xi has announced he will join a French-German climate summit on Friday.
It’s also the planet leader in wind turbines and solar panels.
But over the past year, the country has strayed during a high-carbon direction, with regional governors building new power stations to stimulate the economic process.
The report warns that China’s 14th Five-year Plan risks creating “stranded assets” – that’s coal plants that get built but not used.
It’s supported satellite technology and machine learning, which are getting used for the primary time to work out exactly what proportion of CO2 China’s power sector is emitting.
Western diplomats have been suspicious about the nation’s data, which is published on a provincial basis every month.
The UK and the US, by comparison, publish CO2 data at the plant level every day. Accurate numbers are essential as countries plan to fulfil their pledges to scale back emissions.
Matt Gray, one among the report’s authors, told: “There has got to be credible data on emissions so nations can trust one another in climate negotiations.
“Independent of climate considerations, our analysis finds China could economize, reduce stranded assets and improve its international reputation by replacing coal plants with zero-carbon alternatives,” he said.
Former US vice-president Gore, one among the sponsors of the research, said: “The economic opportunity presented by a transition from coal to wash energy shows that climate action and economic growth go hand in hand.”
Byford Tsang, from the think tank E3G, “The numbers behind the report look pretty robust – in some Chinese provinces, renewables are already equivalent to or cheaper than coal.”
According to research published by the worldwide Energy Monitor, a recent boom in coal-fired power construction in China is offsetting the cuts made within the remainder of the planet.
China completed 38.4 GW of latest capacity in 2020, above the 37.8 GW of coal plants that were retired globally. It commissioned 76% of the world’s new coal plants last year, up from 64% in 2019, consistent with TransitionZero.
The US climate envoy John Kerry is in Shanghai for talks with Chinese climate negotiators.