NewsGerman Vice Chancellor urges China to curb coal usage for climate progress

German Vice Chancellor urges China to curb coal usage for climate progress

Rober Habeck believes that China must move away from coal
Rober Habeck believes that China must move away from coal
Images source: © Getty Images | 2024 VCG
Michał Wąsowski

23 June 2024 12:21

"Without China it would not be possible to meet the climate targets globally," said German Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Climate Change Robert Habeck during a visit to China on Sunday.

Habeck emphasised that economic growth and environmental actions are not contradictory. He also pointed out that climate change is a "crucial challenge," hence tightening cooperation with China in this area is essential.

German Vice Chancellor on China and coal

"Transforming the economy to a climate-neutral one is not only good for the climate but creates new opportunities for wealth and growth," said Habeck during a lecture at a university in Hangzhou.

The Vice-Chancellor stressed that China must find an alternative to coal, allowing them to achieve the same level of energy security with fewer coal-fired power plants.

China is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2060 and is responsible for 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite this, in 2023, Chinese authorities issued permits for constructing coal power plants with a total capacity of 114 gigawatts (GW), which is 10% more than the previous year, and also for opening more coal mines. In 2023, 60% of the energy produced in the country came from coal.

Germany engages in climate change dialogue with China

According to the Chinese side, Habeck stated that the increase in coal production is due to safety reasons.

"China also imports large amounts of gas and oil and China has already seen what has happened in Europe and Germany in the last two years," the politician said, referring to the energy crisis after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

German media reported that the Vice Chancellor's official purpose in visiting China was to hold the first high-level dialogue within the framework of the German-Chinese cooperation mechanism on climate change and green transformation.

Saturday's talks between Habeck and Chinese government representatives in Beijing were dominated by issues related to EU tariffs on Chinese electric vehicles and China's retaliatory anti-dumping measures.

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