What "Climate Leadership" Really Means -- Lots More Coal

Three weeks or so ago, we all got a good laugh from the New York Times fretting that China was in the process of seizing "climate leadership" from the United States.  As reported here on June 8, Pravda had just reported that China was aiming to win the "economic and diplomatic spoils" that would come from dominating the world markets for wind and solar energy.  Of course, this was big front-page news.

But wind and solar as sources of electricity are intermittent and fundamentally useless to power a 24/7/365 grid.  Are the Chinese really this stupid?  Or are they just putting up some token Potemkin village demonstration projects to deceive the deluded climate cultists into pressuring the U.S. to hobble its economy, even as China floods the world with hundreds of more coal plants?

Today's Pravda has the answer.  Of course, since the answer is inconvenient, it's not big front-page news, but rather buried on page A10.  The headline is "As Beijing Joins Climate Fight, Chinese Companies Build Coal Plants."   It seems that a German consultancy called Urgewald has gone out and compiled data on plans for new power plants around the world.  The compilation comes after a recent highly-publicized announcement that China had scaled back plans to build coal power plants, and had canceled more than 100 of them that had previously been planned.  That's "climate leadership"!  But according to the Urgewald data, even after the cancelations China seems to be gearing up to build some 700 new coal plants, both in China itself and in countries around the world:

China’s energy companies will make up nearly half of the new coal generation expected to go online in the next decade.  These Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world, some in countries that today burn little or no coal, according to tallies compiled by Urgewald, an environmental group based in Berlin.

To give you an idea of the scale of this, the U.S. currently has around 600 coal generation units, of which close to 50 are currently scheduled for closure.  So, what the Chinese companies have in the pipeline for just the next few years is more than the entire U.S. capacity for generating electricity from coal.

And, of course, China is not the only one out there building new coal plants:

Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald’s tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent.  The fleet of new coal plants would make it virtually impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris climate accord, which aims to keep the increase in global temperatures from preindustrial levels below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Did you somehow have the impression that the Trump administration was going to destroy the world's environment by declining to join the Paris climate agreement and failing to cut back U.S. carbon emissions by around 25%?  Well, how is this even relevant to anything when the rest of the world is currently in the process of planning and building some three times as many coal electricity plants as the U.S. ever had?  See if you can find the answer to that question anywhere in Pravda!

The whole climate thing is quickly devolving into a game where countries around the world make preposterous and obviously false statements of intent to appease the climate cultists, while at the same time going ahead and developing the fossil fuel resources -- particularly coal -- just as fast as possible.  I just hope that you appreciate the humor.