China to cap coal consumption at 4.1 billion tons by 2020

China to cap coal consumption at 4.1 billion tons by 2020

China aims to cap coal consumption at 4.1 billion metric tons by 2020 and use cleaner fuel.

By 2020, the share of coal in the country’s energy mix should fall below 58 percent, said the energy sector’s five-year plan for 2016-2020, released by the National Development and Reform Commission and the National Energy Administration.

Coal accounted for 64 percent of primary energy in 2015.

By 2020, China’s total energy consumption will be capped at 5 billion tons of coal equivalent, representing an annual rise of about 2.5 percent between 2016 and 2020.

The share of non-fossil fuels will rise to more than 15 percent and the share of natural gas should reach 10 percent.

The push for cleaner energy is partly a response to smog in northern China, which prompted the government to step up efforts on the war against pollution.

Smog triggered red alerts in more than 20 cities at the beginning of the year. Although the breakdown of the smog’s sources — including weather conditions, motor vehicle exhaust and industrial waste — varies across China, winter coal consumption a major factor.

Substances directly related to coal burning are health hazards, including sulfates and soot, major components of PM2.5, airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter.

The plan also promised a 18-percent cut in CO2 emissions per unit of GDP by 2020, compared to the 2015 level.

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