China plans to ban coal use in its capital by 2020

China’s capital city Beijing which is battling with severe air pollution, particularly smog, has announced plans to ban the use of coal by the end of year 2020. Beijing drew nearly 25% of its energy consumption by using coal in 2012 and 22% of the fine particles floating in the capital’s air were also the result of coal use. Besides coal, emissions from motor vehicles, industrial production and general dust also contributed to pollution in the city. Even with the Beijing ban, coal use is likely to increase in China.

Coal-fired power and heating is a major contributor of greenhouse gases and has played a major role in turning China into the world’s largest emitter of carbon and other greenhouse gases. Pressure is mounting on China’s central government to clean up the country’s polluted environment, as dissatisfaction over smog and water and soil contamination surges among China’s growing middle class.

Recently, the central government listed environmental protection as one of the top criteria by which leaders will be judged.  In September 2013, the government announced a ban on new coal-fired power plants around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

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