China Holds Key to India’s Energy Future

Holly Welles ・ Princeton Environmental Institute

India is the focus of much international attention leading up to the UN’s climate negotiations in Paris later this year. India expects to more than double the size of its coal fleet by 2030, following a carbon-intensive industrialization path experienced by almost every major economy, most recently China.

However, China – which consumes roughly half of global coal – is going to great lengths to cap its domestic coal consumption, aided by new policies and the dampening of economic growth rates. Following several years where nearly 1.5 GW of coal power was installed in China weekly, Chinese domestic coal consumption declined in 2014. The rate of coal power capacity addition has slowed too, though China is still expected to install 42 GW of new coal capacity this year alone (roughly equivalent to the entirety of South Africa’s operating installed power capacity from all sources in 2012).