By Andrew R. Selsky and Matthew StaverNovember 12, 2017 8:23:18China is preparing to cut back on millions of people from a major coal project to stem the effects of the warming climate and to avoid the worst of the region’s rising seas, the world’s top coal miner said on Friday.
In a rare interview, Zhu Qingliang, president of China’s biggest miner CNOOC Group, said he had decided to halt plans for a new coal mine in the far western province of Henan to limit its damage to the environment.
A joint statement released by the companies said the mine, planned to start up by 2020, would only produce a small fraction of the coal needed to power China’s coal-fired power plants, which account for half of its power.
Zhu told a news conference that he had already made “no decision” about the mine but hoped it would start up as planned in 2020.
He added that the mine would be built in a way that was environmentally sound.
“The mine will be built using good and environmentally sound materials,” Zhu said.
“The mine is well-designed and the mine will not impact the environment, nor will it harm the environment.”
Zhu did not say how many people would be affected, or how long it would take to shut down the mine.
The world’s largest producer of coal is now looking to reduce its emissions by about 40 percent from 2005 levels by 2020 and cut its reliance on coal-powered power.
China has been grappling with a rise in air pollution that has been blamed for the deadly choking of Beijing and other cities.
It has also been dealing with the collapse in global coal prices, which have dropped sharply in recent months.
Zhou said China’s efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions would also include a push to reduce the number of people affected by climate change.
The Chinese government has not provided details on how it will decide how many affected people will be evacuated, or on how long the shutdown will last.CNOOC has said it has decided to postpone the project, but has not said when.
China has more than 40 coal mines, which produce around 60 percent of its energy needs.