China to set up $31.4 billion relending facility for cleaner coal use

FILE PHOTO: A coal-fired heating complex is seen behind the ground covered by snow in Harbin
FILE PHOTO: A coal-fired heating complex is seen behind the ground covered by snow in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Muyu Xu/File Photo

November 17, 2021

BEIJING (Reuters) -China will establish a special relending facility worth 200 billion yuan ($31.35 billion) to support the clean use of coal, state broadcaster CCTV quoted the country’s cabinet as saying on Wednesday.

The plan comes after China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of the fuel, earlier this week rejected criticism https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/china-india-will-need-explain-coal-move-sharma-says-2021-11-14 that it helped weaken language on phasing out coal at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, saying it had already made “enormous efforts” to reduce coal consumption.

The relending facility will be used to promote clean and efficient processing of coal, CCTV said. It did not specify what that would involve, but such processing could include washing to remove toxic pollutants and impurities.

The facility is also aimed at promoting safe, efficient, green and smart coal mining, as well as development and use of coalbed methane, an unconventional form of natural gas found in coal deposits, CCTV reported in an evening newscast.

The cabinet, or State Council, said the loans would be in addition to a lending tool rolled out by the central bank this month to support efforts to cut carbon emissions, CCTV said.

The People’s Bank of China said on Nov. 8 it would provide financial institutions with low-cost loans to help firms cut emissions, supporting the country’s long-term carbon neutrality goals.

Coal, a major contributor to carbon emissions, accounted for 56.8% of China’s primary energy consumption in 2020, down from around 68% a decade earlier.

President Xi Jinping in September said China would stop building new coal-fired power projects overseas, but authorities have ordered a ramp-up in domestic output of the fossil fuel in recent weeks to ease electricity shortages.

In April, Xi said China would start phasing down coal use https://www.reuters.com/world/china/chinas-xi-says-china-will-phase-down-coal-consumption-over-2026-2030-2021-04-22 from 2026.

($1 = 6.3792 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Kevin Yao and Beijing newsroom; additional reporting by Tom Daly and Muyu Xu; Editing by Edmund Blair and Steve Orlofsky)