Beijing mayor: We'll cut coal use 30% in 2017

CC BY 2.0 Tony Kent/Flickr

As if the astoundingly rapid rise of electric buses in China wasn't reason enough for hope, Business Green is reporting that Cai Qi, Beijing's mayor, may be doubling down on already-ambitious targets to cut coal use in and around the city. Having already committed to reducing coal use to 10 million tons in the city—a figure which would already require closing some coal plants—the mayor's statement suggested that "extraordinary measures" would now aim to bring that figure down to just 7 million tons.

Compare that to the 22 million tons that were being burned in 2013, and you get the sense of how rapidly things are shifting. The Business Green report includes another encouraging sign too: City authorities plan to take 300,000 older vehicles off the road this year, and replace them with cleaner alternatives. Given previous concerns that electric vehicles in China are really just coal-powered vehicles in disguise, it's very exciting to see the switch away from coal happening right alongside a transition away from diesel and gasoline too.

Recent anxiety about the future of climate policy is not without merit here in the US. But as this story reminds us, with Iran making a $3bn renewable energy push, China pledging $361bn to its own efforts, post-Brexit Britain betting heavily on clean tech and cities, utilities and large corporations around the world making extraordinary commitments to a low carbon future, there is very little that the fossil fuel industries can do to stem the long-term shift toward a cleaner, smarter future.

Beijing mayor: We'll cut coal use 30% in 2017
The city already had some ambitious targets. Now it's doubling down.

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