CHINA TO BAN USE OF COAL IN BEIJING
China has announced plans to ban the use of coal in Beijing by 2020 in an effort to reduce dangerous levels of pollution. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, coal accounted for one-quarter of Beijing’s energy consumption in 2012 and 22% of the city’s fine particulate matter. Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau has said that the city will begin to rely instead on electricity and natural gas for heating. Despite the ban, experts say that there is unlikely to be a significant reduction in China’s coal consumption, as the four power plants to be closed in the capital generate only three gigawatts of energy. Furthermore, critics of the plan argue that moving away from coal to natural gas could actually worsen China’s pollution problems. A recent study suggested that the gas that would be produced by coal-to-gas plants contains 36 to 82% higher greenhouse gas emissions than coal-fired power. For the full story, see http://www.mining.com/china-to-ban-coal-use-in-beijing-by-2020-96805/ and http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/8/5/china-to-ban-allcoaluseinbeijingby20201.html.