Beijing takes air pollution by the horns, imposes use of clean coal

Beijing takes air pollution by the horns, imposes use of clean coal

Linfen, China | Image from archives.

China’s capital Beijing will begin next month imposing the use of cleaner low-sulphur coal across all industries, as part of the country’s ongoing plan to cut the alarming rates of air pollution and reduce its dependency on the fossil fuel.

According to official news agency Xinhua, the city will also implement strict controls and targets for airborne sulphur from coal. Air pollution is a major problem for the People's Republic – according to one study it killed 1.2 million people in 2010.

This is the first time the Asian nation enforces the use of clean coal and it follows a series other pollution-curbing measures.

The most touted of all was the recent decision to shut down about 2,000 small coal mines this year, with a total capacity of 117.48 million tonnes.

The country also wants to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in its overall energy consumption to 10.7% in 2014, in an effort to further improve its energy efficiency, control energy consumption, optimize the energy mix and guarantee energy supply.

Beijing takes air pollution by the horns, imposes use of clean coal

Source: EIA, 2014.

The idea of closing down mines is nothing new to China, which accounts for about 50% of the world's coal consumption. In 2012 alone Beijing shut down 628 medium-sized coal mines, improved technological processes of 622 mines, merged 388 mines and phased out 97.8 million tons of outdated production facilities.

Last October, the Chinese government vowed to close at least 2,000 small coal mines by 2015 over safety concerns. The news came only a month after it said it wouldn’t allow more coal-fuelled installations near Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, in an effort to curb air pollution in the country’s most industrial regions.