Beijing has an ambitious plan by 2020 of cutting down on coal for energy use by 62%. China has relied heavily on the fossil fuel since years. But current statistical data from National Bureau of Statistics indicate that China has reduced overall coal output and consumption by 2.5% and consumption by 2.9% respectively in 2014. These data figures and official data about China’s coal consumption falling by 6% in the first four months of 2015 can convince environmentalists and make them feel relief about the country’s coal use reduction.
Beijing is committed about its ambition of reducing dependence on coal and this fact was emphasized by the Energy Development Strategy Action Plan stated in November by the State Council. The government wants focus on service sector and away from industrial production. Natural gas could prove to be the way to reduce the pollution and haze without affecting the economy. Gas has grown in demand since 2012 and has become central socially, politically, and economically since the environmental challenges drew attention.
Beijing wants to emulate the examples of United States and United Kingdom at an accelerated pace. Both these countries have managed to reduce pollution in their main cities by progressing to natural gas successfully. However, though China had started well and used 8.6% more of natural gas, the economic slackening has affected pricing leaving the government to grapple with demand and supply balances. The gas prices need to be low to increase demand but should be cost effective for the companies that import liquefied natural gas at the same time. The price fluctuations in the global oil and gas markets have made this balancing all the more tough. Additionally, China had to make pipeline deals with Myanmar to bridge the gap between demand and supply recently. Beijing is demonstrating clearly that it wants to clean up the air and prioritize worthwhile energy sources for its citizens.