China’s largest coal power plants lagging in response to climate risks, says new study

(Eco Business, 9 Oct 2019) Compared to their global and regional counterparts, China’s coal giants have no clear strategies in transitioning to clean energy, despite government mandates on capping coal use, a Singapore-based consultancy firm found.

China’s biggest coal plants are not moving fast enough in the country’s transition towards lower reliance on fossil fuels, new research has revealed.

In 2016, prompted by worsening air pollution and overinvestment in coal power throughout the country, President Xi Jinping launched an ambitious energy plan to cut capacity in the coal sector.

But a report released on Monday by Singapore-based sustainability consulting firm Asia Research and Engagement showed that China’s top six listed coal energy generators are providing scant information on how they are adapting their strategies in line with the energy transition.

The report, Tracking the Transition, reviewed six leading Chinese energy companies which have a combined market capitalisation of almost US$94 billion, along with 11 coal-intensive companies based elsewhere in Asia and the rest of the world.

To assess how the firms are adjusting their businesses to climate risks, the report examined 13 disclosure items including actual targets for renewable capacity, concrete timelines for a complete halt of coal-fired capacity growth, and reporting of current emissions. The number of items that each company discloses is tracked and an average score is computed.

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Eco Business, 9 Oct 2019: China’s largest coal power plants lagging in response to climate risks, says new study