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Asia Minute: Asia Cutting Back on Coal

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Climate change was one topic where President Trump had significant differences with his counterparts at this weekend’s Group of Seven meetings in Europe. Trump has previously said he wants to push ahead with coal as an energy source—while economies in many parts of the world, including Asia, are heading in the other direction. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.


South Korea’s government announced Tuesday that it will temporarily shut down 8 electricity plants powered by coal.

The facilities have all been operating for 30 years or longer and they produce a disproportionate amount of pollutants.

The coal plants will close for the month of June and government workers will then measure the impact on air pollution.

Overall, South Korea has 53 coal-powered plants.

India is taking more definitive steps to cut back on coal.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis announced last week that state governments across India have cancelled nearly 14 gigawatts of planned coal-fired plants over the past month.

That’s the equivalent of the power output of the Hoover Dam—times seven.

Part of the reason for those cancellations: throughout most of the country, the price of solar energy is now cheaper than coal.

That’s not yet the case in China, which remains by far the world’s biggest consumer of coal.

Even so, China’s central government plans to cut back its overall capacity for mining coal, because of worries about air pollution.

Last week, the local government of Shanxi Province announced it will suspend development of new mines for at least three years—as well as closing 18 existing mines by the end of this year.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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