In 2014, China launched the New Energy Development Strategic Action Plan (NEDSAP 2014–2020) setting a target to limit coal consumption at 4.2 Gt/year by 2020, which is estimated to represent 62% of the energy mix. The Plan is a Low Emission Development Strategy designed through a country-driven process and rooted in China’s priorities, such as improving local air quality and addressing water scarcity issues.
The ambition to limit coal consumption in China comes out of a commitment at the highest political level, contributing to the achievement of China’s Copenhagen pledge of 40–45% reduction in carbon intensity compared to 2005 levels by 2020 and its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) goal of peaking CO 2 emissions by 2030 at the latest.
In addition, capping and decreasing coal consumption is a high priority in China’s 13th Five Year Plan, which will be officially released in March 2016 at the annual National People’s Congress.
According to a recent study by Greenpeace (April 2014), cumulatively, the coal control measures could result in a reduction in coal consumption of approximately 350 million tonnes (MT) by 2017 and 655 MT by 2020, compared with business-as-usual growth. This translates into an estimated reduction in CO2 emissions of about 700 MT in 2017 and 1,300 MT in 2020.