Attention Electric Car buyers:
You have been punked so badly, you should wear a dunce cap and a Kick Me sign, courtesy of China.
You should be overwhelmed by feelings of insignificance and futility.
And what’s worse, you don’t even get it.
China Has Approved More Than 50 Gigawatts Of New Coal Power
Last year, China emerged as the world’s clean energy champ, with the country accounting for $546 billion, or nearly half, of the $1.1 trillion that flowed into the sector as countries everywhere rushed to beef up their energy security. But those mammoth investments will do little to change China’s tag as the planet’s biggest polluter, if the country’s fossil fuel investments are any indication. China approved more than 50 gigawatts of new coal power in the first half of 2023, environment group Greenpeace has revealed. China is building coal-fired power plants at a record clip as it tries to counter the effects of drought on hydropower production.
“China’s government has put energy security and energy transition at odds with one another. Beijing has clearly stated that coal power will still grow at a ‘reasonable pace’ into 2030,” Greenpeace’s Gao Yuhe has told Reuters.
China is not the only country whose hydropower sector has been hit by climate change. Electricity generation from hydro power sources has fallen quite dramatically in Europe, North America and Asia in 2023 compared to the corresponding period in 2022 with overall global hydro generation now 3% below the 2019-21 average. Reduced supplies of non-emitting hydro power in these regions means that utilities are increasingly deploying other sources of dispatchable but more polluting power, such as coal and natural gas, to meet electricity demand.
Alarmingly, North America, the United States in particular, is the hardest hit region in the world. Drier than normal conditions in Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Colorado–all key hydro states–have led to a disastrous 17% decline in hydropower generation in the country. Mexico is not much better off, with output down around 15%.