05/12  closing prices/ revised 05/16/2022 11:38 GMT  | 05/12   OPEC Basket $112.37  +3.34| 05/13    Mexico Basket (MME)  $106.36  +4.22| 03/31 ▲  Venezuela Basket $88.12  (Estimated OPEC) | 05/13   Brent July BRN00 $111.55  +4.10| 05/13 WTI  Texas Intermediate Jun CL00  $110.49  +4.36 | 05/13   Natural Gas May NGM22  $7.663  -0.076| 05/13 Gasoline Jun RBM22    $3.9578  +0.1661 |  05/13 Heating Oil  Jun  HOK22   $ 3.9212  -0.0051 |  06/13  Active U.S. Rig Count (Oil & Gas)  714  +9 | 05/16   USD/MXN Mexican Peso  $20.1013  Live data | 05/16  EUR/USD $1.0430  Live data | 05/16  USD/Bs. (Bolivar)  $4.77050000  |  –        05/12  closing prices/ revised 05/16/2022 11:38 GMT  | 05/12   OPEC Basket $112.37  +3.34| 05/13    Mexico Basket (MME)  $106.36  +4.22| 03/31 ▲  Venezuela Basket $88.12  (Estimated OPEC) | 05/13   Brent July BRN00 $111.55  +4.10| 05/13 WTI  Texas Intermediate Jun CL00  $110.49  +4.36 | 05/13   Natural Gas May NGM22  $7.663  -0.076| 05/13 Gasoline Jun RBM22    $3.9578  +0.1661 |  05/13 Heating Oil  Jun  HOK22   $ 3.9212  -0.0051 |  06/13  Active U.S. Rig Count (Oil & Gas)  714  +9 | 05/16   USD/MXN Mexican Peso  $20.1013  Live data | 05/16  EUR/USD $1.0430  Live data | 05/16  USD/Bs. (Bolivar)  $4.77050000  |  –        05/12  closing prices/ revised 05/16/2022 11:38 GMT  | 05/12   OPEC Basket $112.37  +3.34| 05/13    Mexico Basket (MME)  $106.36  +4.22| 03/31 ▲  Venezuela Basket $88.12  (Estimated OPEC) | 05/13   Brent July BRN00 $111.55  +4.10| 05/13 WTI  Texas Intermediate Jun CL00  $110.49  +4.36 | 05/13   Natural Gas May NGM22  $7.663  -0.076| 05/13 Gasoline Jun RBM22    $3.9578  +0.1661 |  05/13 Heating Oil  Jun  HOK22   $ 3.9212  -0.0051 |  06/13  Active U.S. Rig Count (Oil & Gas)  714  +9 | 05/16   USD/MXN Mexican Peso  $20.1013  Live data | 05/16  EUR/USD $1.0430  Live data | 05/16  USD/Bs. (Bolivar)  $4.77050000  |  –       

China doubles down on coal -NYTimes

A coal-fired power plant in Hanchuan. Choices being made about energy in the country right now
will have profound implications for the climate crisis. Hubei Province.(Getty Images)

By Somini Sengupta, NYtimes

NEW YORK
EnergiesNet.com 04 21 2022

What happens in China doesn’t stay in China. Certainly not when it comes to global warming.

China produces the largest share of greenhouse gases warming the planet right now, and in the coming decades, it could catch up to the United States’ unenviable record as the largest emitter in history. So China’s economic choices, and the fuels it chooses to power its growth, have profound implications for the climate crisis.

Here’s what you need to know about what’s happening with the Chinese economy and how it impacts our collective ability to rein in global temperature rise.

1. China is in the throes of a building boom to jump start its economy.

Start by reading my colleague Keith Bradsher’s story from Beijing. As he wrote last week, the government of President Xi Jinping has “scrambled in recent months to try to reverse a slowdown” in economic growth caused by many things, including rising oil and gas prices brought on by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Lots of construction is underway, Keith told me, including infrastructure projects like high-speed rail lines. That has already affected global emissions: According to the International Energy Agency, China accounted for the largest share of the surge in carbon dioxide emissions in 2021. And that surge exceeded the decline in emissions in 2020, during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

2. So China is in the throes of a coal boom, too.

China’s chosen economic path is hugely energy-intensive. It requires vast amounts of electricity, and, to produce that electricity, China is betting on coal.

First, it is importing more coal, including about 15 percent more from Russia in the first two months of 2022, compared with the same period last year. The really big push, however, is to build new mines and expand existing mines, at a truly mind-melting scale.

China’s coal mining capacity grew more in the final three months of 2021 than all the coal produced in Western Europe. Moreover, its latest Five Year Plan for the energy sector, made public in late March, makes it clear that coal will be a mainstay of the country’s electricity mix for a while. Government agencies were instructed to “enhance” coal’s role in “ensuring the basic needs” of energy security, Carbon Brief wrote in an analysis of the document.

Pandemic-related lockdowns in more than 60 cities across China this spring are causing an economic slowdown, including at many energy-guzzling factories. But work is likely to resume at an even faster pace as soon as lockdowns are lifted, as the government tries to get economic growth back on track.

Most worrisome: The energy strategy for the next five years does not spell out when coal use will peak. Yan Qin, a China analyst at Refinitiv, a global economic analysis company, said she expected China’s coal fleet to increase by 150 gigawatts in the next five years. Many plants are already in the pipeline, she said, “due to provinces complaining about tight power supply.”

3. No one likes power cuts, least of all authoritarian governments.

Many Chinese provinces ran critically short of electricity last fall. Factories suddenly went silent. High-rise office buildings had to be evacuated before their elevators stopped. Chemical factories lost power and, with it, their ability to control the heat and pressure in potentially hazardous operations.

In March, President Xi Jinping underlined that he would not let his country turn away from coal without making sure that reliable replacements were in place. “You can’t throw away the eating utensils in your hands before you have new eating utensils in your hands. That’s not OK,” he said at a meeting of China’s national legislature, which is controlled by the Communist Party. Energy security became a top imperative.

4. China’s emissions will grow, but also its renewable energy sources.

We have long expected China’s emissions to grow. The real question is by how much and for how much longer.

Xi has said that carbon dioxide emissions would peak before 2030. The country is on track to meet that target, even with the current coal boom, because China is also planning to add more wind and solar power capacity this year than the rest of the world did last year, according to an analysis by Bloomberg.

That isn’t enough to unseat fossil fuels, though. In 2021, wind, solar, hydropower and nuclear energy sources accounted for a little more than a third of China’s electricity mix. (By comparison, the United States draws around 40 percent of its electricity from sources other than fossil fuels.)

5. Beijing is pulling back from financing coal abroad.

China has said it will stop funding coal plants overseas. That’s important because China is by far the largest financier of coal projects globally, especially in Asia and Europe. Several overseas coal-burning projects have been canceled in recent years, in part because of popular opposition in those countries and in part because they don’t make as much financial sense as they did before, because the price of renewables has dropped sharply.

6. What’s next?

In theory, with new renewable energy installations coming online in the years ahead, China could dial down coal use. But that will be hard, Qin says, considering how many new plants are being built now in the name of energy security.

“The current tone of ‘ensure energy security’ may also imply that China’s leadership is less willing to ramp up its Paris pledge or commit to a peak emission year,” Qin said, referring to the pledges that China made under a global agreement to slow down global warming, known as the Paris accord. China’s long-term climate goals might not get more ambitious, she said, and may even get temporarily weakened.

China is not alone in that respect. In the United States, the Biden administration has also approved more oil and gas production, despite the president’s promises to move the American economy away from fossil fuels.


The Biden administration plans to restore parts of the National Environmental Policy Act that had been stripped under former President Donald J. Trump.
The Biden administration plans to restore parts of the National Environmental Policy Act that had been stripped under former President Donald J. Trump.
(Pete Marovich/NYTimes)

Thanks for reading. We’ll be back on Friday.

Manuela Andreoni, Claire O’Neill and Douglas Alteen contributed to Climate Forward.

Reach us at climateforward@nytimes.com. We read every message, and reply to many!

Somini Sengupta is The Times’s international climate correspondent. She has also covered the Middle East, West Africa and South Asia and is the author of the book, “The End of Karma: Hope and Fury Among India’s Young.” @SominiSengupta • Facebook

nytimes.com 04 20 2022

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