China plans even bigger expansion of its clean-energy capacity

China yesterday announced plans to more than double its clean-energy capacity — from 7 percent of electricity production today to about 15 percent by 2020, up from a previous goal of 10 percent. While this could make the country a leading global player in the hydropower, solar, and wind industries, it still wouldn’t offset the country’s climate-damaging emissions, say greens. China’s heavy reliance on coal to power its economic growth makes it the world’s second-largest greenhouse-gas emitter (after the U.S.) and causes an estimated 400,000 premature deaths a year from heavily polluted air. Chinese leaders are increasingly vocal about the serious consequences of reliance on dirty power. “The environmental situation is … very grim and emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and other greenhouse gases are very great,” says Zhou Dabing, president of a leading Chinese energy company.