China generated more than half of the world’s coal-fired electricity

China was the only G20 country that saw a large increase in coal generation last year, a new report finds

The Big Zero report

In the year that globally, coal generation had its sharpest fall on record, China was responsible for nearly 53% of the world’s coal-fired electricity in 2020.

That’s according to a new report by the energy and climate research group Ember, which suggests China’s coal generation rose by 1.7% last year.

The findings of the analysis also highlight that the country was the only one from the G20 group that saw a significant jump in coal-fired generation.

China’s electricity demand was 33% higher in 2020 than in 2015, rising by more than all electricity demand in India in 2020.

Electricity demand per capita is also higher than in the UK and Italy, the report suggests.

It also notes wind and solar now supply almost a tenth of China’s electricity, in line with the world average.

The country has committed to reaching carbon-neutrality by 2060. 

“Despite some progress, China is still struggling to curb its coal generation growth. Fast-rising demand for electricity is driving up coal power and emissions.

More sustainable demand growth will enable China to phase out its large coal fleet, especially the least efficient sub-critical coal units, and provide greater opportunity for the country to attain its climate aspirations.”

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