China intends to cut coal consumption by 160 million tons by 2020, and up its use of non-fossil energy to 15 percent by then. Air pollution has been linked to a spike in lung cancer in Beijing and a reduced life expectancy in some regions of 5.5 years.
China will reduce its coal consumption and move towards cleaner energy such as hydropower, nuclear, wind and solar, according to a 2015-2020 action plan, released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the Finance Ministry on Friday, Xinhua news agency reports. The country’s coal consumption fell 2.9 percent last year for the first time in 14 years as China is trying to diminish air pollution and to boost green energy output.
The country’s current coal consumption accounts for about 66 percent of primary energy use, 35 percentage points higher than the world average. Only 8 of 74 China’s major cities met the country’s air quality standards in 2014, severe air pollution plagued not only northern China, the coal-mining region, but also coastal cities in the south, such as Shanghai.