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World

China's coal crisis continues: Greenpeace

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Opening sequence

World

China's coal crisis continues: Greenpeace

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COMING UP:China's coal crisis continues: Greenpeace

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Transcript

00:00:02
>> It looks like the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter has a dirty secret. China's promised to cut back on its addiction to fossil fuels. But a new report by Greenpeace says between now and 2020 it's on course to build a new coal fired power plant every week on average.
00:00:17
And here's the kicker. This construction boom will leave the country with about 400 gigawats of power, that's more than twice Germany's entire capacity. that it doesn't even need. Reuters David Stanley explains how this has happened.>> What you have to understand with China is that they've always struggled to forecast capacity growth and demand growth.
00:00:38
So, demand has fallen so quickly over the last few years, and there's a time lag between the launch of construction and when they finally go into operations. So they're left with this huge overhang of extra capacity that's now going online.>> Demand is falling because China's economy is slowing, which means less power is needed to run factories and furnaces.
00:01:00
In fact, utilization rates for the country's coal fired power plants are at their lowest in 40 years. But local authorities have their own reasons to keep right on building.>> One of the biggest concerns of local authorities is being left with shortages. Five year ago, there were huge problems with capacity shortages in some regions, and they left with blackouts in the summer.
00:01:23
And so, they've overcompensated by building huge amounts of new plants.>> The power plant construction boom has alarmed Beijing. State media now saying officials plan to ban new approvals for the next two years. China's promised to bring greenhouse gas emissions to a peak by around 2030. But as the new coal power plants fire up, many doubt whether that goal is realistic.