News that is good, not great.

Coal power plantIf your Facebook and Twitter accounts are anything like mine, you will have jumped for joy in recent weeks after seeing headlines announcing that Beijing has banned coal-fired power plants by 2020.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration China consumes and produces roughly half the world’s coal. China’s hunger for coal is driven by it’s massive manufacturing industry which requires vast amounts of energy. It’s not surprising that China produces more greenhouse gasses than any other country on Earth.

Given China’s enormous use of coal the news of Beijing’s decision was welcomed by me, and I celebrated that the world’s use of coal was about to plummet. However, I should have done my due diligence and read past the headlines – it is Beijing that is banning the use of coal, not China. Beijing will close down coal-fired power plants in its 6 main districts, which produce 0.5% of China’s energy needs.

Although this is no where near as great as I first assumed, it is still good news. As the proverb says “a waterfall begins with just one drop”, and Beijing is the capital of China so hopefully this just the first step of many that China makes to decarbonising its society.