By Paul Homewood
Fossil fuel production in China soared in 2022, with coal and gas hitting record highs, as environmental targets took a back seat to energy security after a tumultuous year for prices.
That swamped some good news for the climate from the steel sector, where China cut output for a second consecutive year to make good on its promise to rein in emissions from the worst-polluting industry after power generation.
The world’s top coal mining nation dug up nearly 4.5 billion tons of the dirtiest fuel last year, an increase of 9% on 2021, the statistics bureau said on Tuesday. Production of cleaner-burning gas rose 6.4% to 218 billion cubic meters, while crude oil rose above 200 million tons for the first time since 2015, helping to cut China’s reliance on pricey imports.
As early as January last year, President Xi Jinping had flagged that China’s ambitious climate goals shouldn’t clash with its economic objectives, which include securing adequate supplies of commodities. Energy security became an even bigger priority after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the following month put a rocket under international prices.
BTW – the idea that China has cut steel production to reduce emissions is an absurd statement. The drop is mainly a reflection of much slower economic growth last year, amidst heavy COVID lockdowns, and a weakening of the construction boom of recent years.
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January 17, 2023 at 11:50AM