SHANGHAI: China will start to phase down coal consumption over the 2026-2030 period as part of its efforts to reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, President Xi Jinping told the Climate Leaders' Summit on Thursday (Apr 22).
"We will strictly control coal-fired power generation projects," Xi said, speaking via video link.
"We will strictly limit the increase in coal consumption over the 14th five-year plan period (2021 to 2025) and phase it down in the 15th five-year plan period (2026 to 2030)."
Xi's comments imply that China's coal consumption, by far the highest in the world, will reach a peak in 2025 and start to fall thereafter.
"However, more ambitious actions are needed," said Li Shuo, senior climate adviser for environment group Greenpeace.
"It is in China's self-interest to announce and implement further plans ahead of COP26," he said, referring to the annual climate meeting scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November.
Xi pledged last year that China would bring its emissions to a peak before 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060.
"China has committed to move from carbon peak to carbon neutrality in a much shorter timespan than what might take many developed countries, and that requires extraordinarily hard efforts from China," he said.
China's energy regulator said earlier on Thursday that it would aim to reduce the share of coal in its total energy mix to less than 56 per cent this year, but it remains one of the only major economies to approve new coal projects.
Xi also reiterated China's call for industrialised countries to help poorer nations transition to green and low-carbon development.