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China Accelerates Energy Infrastructure Investment in Coal and Nuclear, to Green Discomfiture

Dec. 2, 2019 (EIRNS)—According to South China Morning Post on Oct. 18, China had doubled the value of large-scale infrastructure projects approved by the government in the first ten months of 2019, compared with 2018, using domestic credit policy to combat the global industrial recession with increasing productivity and productive employment.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has approved 21 projects with $107.8 billion planned investment this year, based on the paper’s calculations from NDRC documents. For the same period in 2018, $52.8 billion were approved, such as railways, roads and airports. “Three of the infrastructure projects approved by the NDRC have price tags over ... $14 billion, including the most expensive on the list—a new high-speed railway network linking Chongqing and Kunming in southwest China, worth a total of ... $19.9 billion.”

These are not immediate spending levels, of course; however, actual infrastructure investment has risen to 4.5% of GDP, from 4.2% in 2018.

China is now greatly disturbing the elite climate hysterics currently gathered at COP25 in Madrid, by building up coal-fired and nuclear power capacity. An Associated Press piece today, titled “China Plans New Coal Plants, Trims Support for Clean Energy,” conveys the strong disapproval of those Western countries trying to give up food, farmers, warmth, and workers. Citing the November report, “Out of Step: China Is Driving the Continued Growth of the Global Coal Fleet,” from Global Energy Monitor (formerly CoalSwarm), AP writes that China is in various construction stages of 148 GW of new coal-fired capacity, more than what all of Europe is trying to close down. The coal-fired plants would add 7-8% to China’s total electric capacity, and while the plants being built are CO2 gas emitters they are extremely low emitters of particulate pollution.

The misnomered Global Energy Monitor maintains a Global Coal Plant Tracker (on a website called “EndCoal”) to “provide information on all existing coal plants of 30 MW or larger, as well as every plant proposed since January 1, 2010.” (See also, EIR Daily Alert for Nov. 25, 2019.)

The facts appear to be that China is carrying out the plan it submitted at COP21 in Paris in 2015, for 20% renewable energy—in which it includes nuclear and hydropower. As of 2018 it was already close to that target even without hydropower, which is considerable. It then had solar capacity in the range of 8% and wind at 9% of total installed capacity, with nuclear at 2%. The UN climate fanatics now demand much more wind and solar.

China is now adding nearly 1% to total capacity per year in the form of nuclear, over the coming five-six years, plus the large coal-fired fleet addition. And the subsidies for rooftop solar and “solar plants” have definitely been removed, which is what the climate fanatics mean by “cutting back spending on renewables.”

China actually appears to be shifting to higher shares for nuclear and coal, and therefore to higher technological productivity, having fulfilled the “renewables” pledge it made at COP21.

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