China set to step up coal production in response to power shortage

Since September, 153 mines have been authorized by the government to increase their production capacity by 220 million tonnes per year.

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Bad news for the fight against climate change. China is on track to increase coal production by nearly 6% to cope with power shortages. It even recently reached a daily production record, authorities announced on Monday (October 18th).

China is the world’s largest producer of coal and the world’s largest polluter. In a statement, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said 153 mines had been authorized since September to increase their production capacity by 220 million tonnes per year. Compared to China’s total production in 2020 (3.84 billion tonnes), this is a 5.7% increase in coal capacity. This action is taken in order “to ensure the supply of coal during the winter and next spring”, explained the powerful planning agency.

During the current quarter alone, production from these mines is expected to increase by 50 million tonnes, the NDRC said. While Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that his country would start reducing pollutant emissions before 2030, the NDRC stressed that daily coal production had “recently” reached a record, at 11.5 million tonnes.

Coal, a particularly polluting energy, provides about 60% of Chinese electricity production. In recent weeks, the Asian giant has faced power cuts that have disrupted industrial production in several regions. Among the reasons mentioned: the global economic recovery which puts pressure on the factories of the workshop of the world, the limitations of coal production imposed in the name of climate objectives and the existence of a regulated price of electricity.

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