More Coal-Fired Power Stations in Asia

A lovely feature of the GWPF site is its extracts of articles related to all aspects of climate and related energy policies. Yesterday the GWPF extracted from an opinion piece in the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post A new coal war frontier emerges as China and Japan compete for energy projects in Southeast Asia.
The GWPF’s summary:-

Southeast Asia’s appetite for coal has spurred a new geopolitical rivalry between China and Japan as the two countries race to provide high-efficiency, low-emission technology. More than 1,600 coal plants are scheduled to be built by Chinese corporations in over 62 countries. It will make China the world’s primary provider of high-efficiency, low-emission technology.

A summary point in the article is not entirely accurate. (Italics mine)

Because policymakers still regard coal as more affordable than renewables, Southeast Asia’s industrialisation continues to consume large amounts of it. To lift 630 million people out of poverty, advanced coal technologies are considered vital for the region’s continued development while allowing for a reduction in carbon emissions.

Replacing a less efficient coal-fired power station with one of the latest technology will reduce carbon (i.e CO2) emissions per unit of electricity produced. In China, these efficiency savings replacement process may outstrip the growth in power supply from fossil fuels. But in the rest of Asia, the new coal-fired power stations will be mostly additional capacity in the coming decades, so will lead to an increase in CO2 emissions. It is this additional capacity that will be primarily responsible for driving the economic growth that will lift the poor out of extreme poverty.

The newer technologies are important in other types emissions. That is the particle emissions that has caused high levels of choking pollution and smogs in many cities of China and India. By using the new technologies, other countries can avoid the worst excesses of this pollution, whilst still using a cheap fuel available from many different sources of supply. The thrust in China will likely be to replace the high pollution power stations with new technologies or adapt them to reduce the emissions and increase efficiencies. Politically, it is a different way of raising living standards and quality of life than by increasing real disposable income per capita.

Kevin Marshall



  1. Why do we keep hearing & even worse tolerating this “clean coal” rhetoric? If Chia wants to invest in this kind of technology, why not invest in their own country, why spread world over and initiate more pollution elsewhere. The world is committed to #renewables so we must all #deCOALonize.

    Let us talk renewable energy!

    • manicbeancounter

       /  03/04/2018

      It is China and Japan competing. If you think these countries should not sell their products and services elsewhere, then I then take it up with them.
      Is the world – 7600 million people in 195 countries – actually committed to renewables? Try the UNEP emissions gap report, which shows emissions are projected to rise.

      Click to access EGR_2017.pdf

      The reason is that in most countries – especially the poorer countries – are not willing to sacrifice their economic growth to “combat climate change”. But they play the game. Take Kenya’s INDC Submission

      Click to access Kenya_INDC_20150723.pdf

      The BAU forecast is from 73 MtCO2eq in 2010 to 143 MtCO2eq in 2030.
      But will lots of assistance Kenya will “cut” that by 30% to a nice round 100 MtCO2eq.

      • I quite agree with you on this. It is true most 3rd world countries want the easiest energy sources to develop just as the 1st world did, but that has an implication.

        All I am saying is that instead of Japan & China investing in coal, why not do the same for clean energy, and save the global carbon emissions.

        Worse still, Kenya is already prospecting building a second coal plant in coastal Kenya, even when the first proposed coal plant faced so much opposition.

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