China's central government unveiled the result of coal consumption reduction work in 2019, putting pressures on local governments to further cut or replace use of the dirty fossil fuel in a bid to realize its carbon neutrality in 2060, according to a government document issued on February 8.
Coal use in Anhui, Shandong, three cities in Shanxi and the central area in Shaanxi increased in 2019 compared with the year ago, and failed to meet the de-coal consumption schedule set in the 13th Five-Year Plan for 2016-20. Local governments of these places were criticized by the central government, according to the document.
In comparison, Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shanghai, Jiangsu, Henan, as well as the Pearl Delta region, Henan's two cities and Shanxi's Linfen were praised for meeting their 2019 targets set out in the 13th Five-Year Plan.
Eastern Zhejiang province cut coal consumption by 5.03 million tonnes in 2019, which has achieved its annual reduction target but still not enough to reach the 13th Five-Year Plan schedule. The province restricted power consumption in December last year, partially to cut coal consumption.
According to the 13th Five-Year Plan, coal's share in the country's energy mix should reduce below 58% by end-2020. Data showed the target has been accomplished with the share down to 57.7% by end-2020, according to the Ministry of Ecology and Environment on a press brief on December 22, 2020.
China planned to restrict its coal consumption to no higher than 4.1 billion tonnes last year, according to the 13th Five-Year Plan. Due to unexpected cold snaps in the winter heating period and strong post-pandemic economic recovery, coal consumption may be slightly higher than the target.
In 2020, the country produced 3.84 billion tonnes of coal in 2020, which was only a 0.9% rise year on year, and coal imports totaled 304 million tonnes, up 1.5% year on year. This suggests coal consumption last year could be a slight higher than its target.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Harry Huo)
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