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China chips away at coal addiction to chase climate goals

China’s use of coal in its energy mix continued to decline in 2020, but more aggressive measures may be needed to reduce emissions in order to meet Beijing’s climate goals.

Coal use accounted for 56.8% of the country’s total energy consumption last year, down 0.9 of a percentage point from 2019, according to figures released Sunday by the National Bureau of Statistics. The modest decline allowed China to meet a government target to reduce the proportion of coal to around 57.5% in 2020. Still, total coal use climbed by 0.6% as energy consumption rose by 2.2% in 2020 from a year earlier.