China to cap coal usage below 65% by 2017

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China: China has released a plan to cap coal consumption to below 65% of its total primary energy use by 2017 in order to tackle air pollution.

"The pressure to curb air pollution is rising amid China's industrialisation and urbanisation and increasing consumption of energy and resources," said the government plan. The plan follows widespread public awareness of air pollution since levels of particulate matter smaller than 2.5μm (PM2.5) recorded in Beijing broke World Health Organization safety limits in January 2013.

According to a plan published on the country's national website, new industrial projects in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region in north China, the Yangtze Delta region in the east and the Pearl River Delta region in the south will be banned from building their own captive power plants. These regions will also be encouraged to replace coal use with power purchased from other areas or with power generated from natural gas or non-fossil fuels such as nuclear power. The plans follows previous measures to phase outdate industrial capacity.

However environmental activists and analysts quoted by Reuters have pointed out that the system could be undermined by loopholes such as allowing areas to import energy from elsewhere.


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