China Urged to Step Up Efforts to Replace Coal to Clean Air

  • China should replace coal with renewables and natural gas
  • Energy structure adjustment in key regions insufficient: group

China is being urged by academics to step up efforts in the next couple of years to replace coal with cleaner energy to fight air pollution, with the group even saying some parts of the country should use natural gas in power generation.

The nation should actively develop renewable energy, nuclear power and natural gas, while at the same time curbing an increase in coal use, according to an assessment of an air-pollution prevention plan conducted by 50 academics from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and posted on the website of the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

As part of the effort, natural gas supplies should be increased to Beijing, Tianjin and the province of Hebei to help replace coal with the cleaner fuel in the production of power and other industrial uses, according to the statement. Four districts in Beijing that still rely on coal-fired boilers for winter heating should phase out the fuel and use natural gas instead, it said.

Though the concentration of pollutants in Chinese cities has fallen since 2013, heavy smog in winter remains prominent, according to the report. Public anger has prompted the government to issue more measures to tackle pollution.

“The progress of China’s key regions in adjusting their energy structure is far from sufficient,” Dong Liansai, a Greenpeace East Asia climate and energy campaigner, said in an e-mailed statement. “This is of major concern as air quality targets cannot be met unless dirty coal is replaced with clean renewables.”

— With assistance by Feifei Shen

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