Beijing [China], May 26 (ANI): As many as 169 new coal mines in China could add around 10 per cent to the nation's mining capacity in coming years, rather than reducing the fossil fuel as Beijing has promised, according to Global Energy Monitor (GEM).
A boom in new coal mines and mine expansions commissioned in China since mid-2021 threatens to raise global methane emissions by 10 per cent, said GEM in its report. This explosion is at odds with pledges by China to reduce methane emissions over the rest of the decade.
In response to an acute domestic "energy crisis" at the end of last year, China commissioned new mining capacity that unleashed an estimated 2.5 million tonnes (Mt) of new coal mine methane emissions within a matter of months.
Between July and October 2021, China increased capacity by at least 464 metric tonnes per annum (Mtpa) at over 249 coal mines, resulting in increased actual output at these mines by 270 Mtpa.
This is more than the annual output of South Africa (246 Mt), the world's seventh-largest coal producer.
On top of the surge in new coal mine capacity last year, China has 559 Mtpa of new coal mine proposals under development, which is equivalent to the output of Indonesia (564 Mtpa), the world's third-largest coal producer.
The new mining activity raises concerns about China's optimization and reformation plans - a years-long attempt to reduce excess mine capacity at poorly performing operations.
China's rate of mine closure and abandonment - or decapacity - averaged just 3.13 per cent per year in that time. Yet China has plans to increase capacity by at least 14 per cent on top of the ramp-up at the end of 2021, and that's not including projects the National Development and Reform Commission has signaled are forthcoming in 2022.
"China's frenzy of new mine development is creating hundreds of new sources of methane emissions. While making recent strides to meet its climate goals, China still needs to reckon with the potential fallout from a short-term mining boom," said Ryan Driskell Tate, report author.
Contrary to President Xi Jinping's climate pledges to go carbon neutral by 2060, China has gone back on its promises and continues financing overseas coal projects along with planning to add more coal-fired power plants that will only add to the current carbon emissions.
Last September, China had pledged to stop engagements in the coal-fired plants abroad and also become carbon neutral by 2060, however, all recent actions by China are only another big blow to these climate pledges.
This year, China has planned to up the ante on coal mining as well. Only in a single year, nearly 300 million tonnes of additional coal will be extracted this year. It will be 7 per cent higher than that mined in 2021-- 4.1 billion tonnes.
China also promised to make efforts to limit the warming of the atmosphere to 2 degrees Celsius above the level of pre-industrial times. But the actions on the ground tell a different story. (ANI)