Climate change: China coal surge threatens Paris targets

While the rest of the world has cut coal-based electricity over the past 18 months, China has added enough to power 31 million homes.

That's according to a study that says China is now in the process of building or reviving coal equivalent to the EU's entire generating capacity.

China is also financing around a quarter of all proposed coal plants outside its borders.

Researchers say the surge is a major threat to the Paris climate targets.

China's reliance on coal as a key step in developing the economy led to the fabled "one coal plant a week" building programme between 2006 and 2015.

But the push had many negative consequences, choking the air with pollution in many Chinese cities and leading to huge overcapacity. Many of these plants were only able to run 50% of the time.

In 2015, in an attempt to curb the growth, the national government tried to clamp down on new-build coal. However, it continued to allow provincial governments the freedom to issue permits for new coal plants. That move misfired badly.

Local authorities subsequently permitted up to five times more plants than in any comparable period.

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