Absolutely nothing the US does about CO2 will offset China's coal buildup

(AP Photo/John Amis, File)

China is by far the world’s largest producer of solar panels, at 51 GW/year in production.

Producing the panels is one thing, using them to produce electricity is another. For its own power production, China is all about coal.


SINGAPORE, Feb 27 (Reuters) – China approved the construction of another 106 gigawatts of coal-fired power capacity last year, four times higher than a year earlier and the highest since 2015, driven by energy security considerations, research showed on Monday.

Over the year, 50 GW of coal power capacity went into construction across the country, up by more than half compared to the previous year, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and Global Energy Monitor (GEM) said.

Gee, I wonder why? Could it be that coal is inexpensive, reliable, always on? Perhaps the Chinese also understand that by pushing solar panels as a major source of energy in Western countries they are giving themselves a leg up in the competition to be the world’s manufacturing hub.

Hmmm. I wonder.

“The speed at which projects progressed through permitting to construction in 2022 was extraordinary, with many projects sprouting up, gaining permits, obtaining financing and breaking ground apparently in a matter of months,” said GEM analyst Flora Champenois.

The amount of new capacity connected to the grid had slowed in recent years after a decline in new approvals over the 2017-2020 period, but it is set to rebound over the next few years, driven by concerns about power shortages.


Western countries are obsessed with virtue signaling about climate change; the Chinese are obsessed with economic development.

Something tells me that exporting manufactured products to the world is a more sustainable economic path than exporting virtue. Great Britain managed to benefit from exporting their offensive royals to North America, and I admit that Britain is better for it. But I am not sure that anybody is better fed because Megan Markle and her whiny woke mate are now in North America.

Despite conservatives’ fondness for coal miners, I have to admit that I would far prefer that we break the logjam preventing nuclear power production than start building more coal plants. Nuclear is the future of energy production, although at the pace we are building it always will be.

Wind, solar, geothermal, and other niche energy sources will never provide the reliable power sources we need at scale. Each may make sense for some applications–I dream of having a 5th wheel powered by a massive solar array and batteries one day to travel the country in style. I think they call it glamping (glamorous camping).

But renewables will not provide abundant, reliable, and affordable baseload power any time in the near future, and our Elite’s fantasy that they will is disastrous for our economy and way of life.


We don’t have to look to China to understand this fact of life–China is, as often as not, an example of what to avoid. But we have to face the fact that what little we do to reduce CO2 emissions will be swamped by the developing world’s efforts to improve their own quality of life.

Environmentalism is a luxury good, and the best way to get people to improve the environment is to make them wealthier. And the only way to do that is to ensure an inexpensive, abundant, and reliable source of energy.

For the foreseeable future that supply will not be niche renewables.

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