The world’s biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions plans to shutter a thousand coal mines
before the end of this year. China’s National Energy Administration made the announcement Monday, as part of the country’s larger goal to reduce carbon pollution 60 percent by 2020. Shutting down coal mines is just the tip of the iceberg in China’s ongoing efforts to reduce the country’s carbon emissions.
China has a long history with air pollution and other environmental problems that have negatively impacted public health. The country’s leaders plan to shut down 60 million metric tons of coal production this year. Over the course of the next three to five years, another 500 million will be taken offline, mostly by targeting small or older mines. An additional 500 million tons will be cut by consolidating producers and improving efficiency.
Reuters reported that half of China’s 10,760 coal mines will eventually have to close, based on estimates from the China National Coal Association. Last year, China announced plans to introduce a cap-and-trade program in 2017 to help cut down on carbon emissions. The motivations for addressing pollution come months after smog reached peak levels, and Chinese officials are now challenged to make big changes in accord with the Paris climate deal, which was signed in December.
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