China will stand its stated intentions to scale down its coal industry, Fergus Greene, a policy analyst with the London School of Economics, said Monday afternoon in a presentation at Energy Finance 2016.
Greene noted that the Chinese economy has grown less “energy intensive,” as its economy has evolved away from heavy industry toward service-sector development, and that electricity-generation diversity is rising.
“We see big increases in particular in renewable energy,” said Greene, echoing remarks by IEEFA’s Tim Buckley, who noted China reached peak coal consumption in 2013. Greene said the country faces “enormous challenges” in managing its coal industry decline—with the announced layoffs of 1.3 million coal workers and 500,000 steel workers—but that the central government will persist nonetheless.
Greene spoke more broadly to global coal markets too, saying that while “we don’t need new coal mines,” coal-mine development could still occur in places where status quo fossil fuel interests are dominant and hold political sway.
“Many governments are largely captured by the coal industry, which is calling for subsidies,” he said. “They call it nation-building infrastructure in Australia.”