China is both the greatest threat to the global climate, and, very possibly, our greatest hope for energy transition. It consumes more coal and produces more CO2 than any other nation on earth. It also has more installed capacity for wind and solar than any other nation, and the largest long-distance, high-voltage electricity transmission grid. It has more electric vehicles and more high speed rail than any other country. And it produces more steel, and cement, and housing, and just about everything else. If the energy transition is to be a success, it cannot happen without China.
But China remains opaque to non-Chinese speakers, and its conflicting information and narratives confound Western journalists. What is the actual trajectory of energy transition in China? Is it building more coal plants than anyone else… or is it leading the world in building wind and solar? What if the answer is… both? And can it meet its new target to get to net-zero emissions by 2060?
In this episode, expert Lauri Myllyvirta of the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air joins us to share his extensive research on coal and air pollution in Asia, with a focus on his insights into what is really happening in China.
Lauri Myllyvirta is the lead analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA). Lauri has over 10 years’ experience as an air pollution and climate expert. He has led numerous research projects on air pollution, assessing air quality and health impacts of energy policies, including more than a dozen modeling studies of the air quality and health impacts of coal-fired power plants. This research has been published and utilized in numerous countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Europe, Turkey, South Africa and others. Lauri has also contributed to numerous publications around energy solutions and air pollution and is asked frequently to attend seminars and conferences as an expert speaker. He served as a member of the Technical Working Group on regulating emissions from large combustion plants in the EU and currently serves as a member of the expert panel on regulating SO2 emissions in South Africa.
On Twitter: @laurimyllyvirta
Recording date: December 14, 2020
Air date: January 6, 2021
Geek rating: 6