When China halted plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants this year, even as President Trump vowed to “bring back coal” in America, the contrast seemed to confirm Beijing’s new role as a leader in the fight against climate change.
China’s coal-to-chemical industry could produce CO2 emissions in excess of 400 million tonnes a year by the end of the decade — a more than fourfold increase from the 90 million emitted in 2015.
Coal-to-chemical projects, which convert coal to other chemical properties, including oil and gas, are extremely carbon intensive, accounting for roughly 3% of the country’s total CO2 emissions in 2012.
Donald Trump’s being elected the 45th President of the US has sent shock waves through the climate change community worldwide. Examining some recent energy and emission trends in the US would contribute to our understanding of what Trump might or might not undo. And while our initial shock and dismay is totally warranted, it would be short-sighted of us to ignore deeper drivers of global warming that will persist even after Trump comes and goes.