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POLITICS: PennAve

China announces move to restrict use of coal

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Politics,Climate Change,China,PennAve,Energy and Environment,Coal,Global Warming,Zack Colman,Air Pollution,Greenhouse Gases,Beijing,Power Plants

Beijing will stop using coal for electricity in six main districts by 2020, according to state-run media agency Xinhua.

The news, which was reported by the Associated Press and Reuters, cited an announcement by the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau. The move is aimed at addressing air pollution, which has risen to become a top domestic policy concern in China.

While the policy would target harmful pollutants, such small particles that can enter the respiratory system and bloodstream, it would also have the effect of blunting greenhouse gas emissions by taking coal-fired power plants offline.

China is the world's largest contributor to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions, and has traditionally held out of carbon-cutting pacts because it worried doing so would forestall millions coming out of poverty.

China's historical obstinence to such agreements has colored conservative and industry opposition to President Obama's climate agenda, saying that proposed carbon emissions rules for existing power plants would do little to stop global warming if China and other big polluters don't follow suit.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposal is due for finalization next June, and calls for slashing power-sector emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Obama and liberal Democrats, along with their environmental allies, have said the proposal positions the United States to lead on climate heading into international negotiations next year in Paris. Nations there will seek enough carbon reduction commitments by 2020 to avoid a 2 degrees Celsius global temperature rise by 2100.

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