In early July of last year, China imported the most coal that it has imported in about 4.5 years. This comes as a shock to the rest of the world as efforts worldwide have gone to lower the use of harmful fossil fuels. That is fossil fuels most obviously like coal. Not only is this confusing but it seems to slowly bite away at the large scheme of making Earth a more sustainable planet for all: especially our future generations.

Coal is a hard rock that can be burned as a solid fossil fuel. It is mostly carbon but also contains hydrogen, sulphur, oxygen and nitrogen. Regardless of what it made up of, we know it best as a large contributor to the effects of climate change on our planet. This rock poses a large threat to the life of our planet. This is because upon its burning it reacts with the oxygen that is present in the air around us. When it does so, it produced carbon dioxide which a greenhouse gas that we know infamously traps heat in our atmosphere, and slowly contributes to the overall heating of planet Earth.

With China’s coal imports last year, the most populated country in the world is now responsible for a full quarter of the world’s carbon dioxide output. Now you may be thinking something I’m thinking: why is China still using coal knowing its production of GHGs is a common output? I’m just as puzzled as you may be but there must be explanations for such harmful actions towards our planet. Well, there really isn’t.

If we take a closer look at China’s relationship with coal the past couple of years, we can learn that China approved nearly $6.7 billion worth of new coal mining projects in 2018, and production increased 5.2% to 3.55 billion tonnes, according to Forbes. We are under the impression that China is reducing its dependence on coal but the nation hasn’t done anything to reduce these numbers, instead, these values have been constant for the past couple of years.

Now, with the rise of other more renewable forms of energy like natural gas and solar, China may be looking to invest in such sources come the next couple of years. What we don’t know is if they will decide to stick with these investments and if they decide to, then when.

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