Shanghai: The world's coal producers are currently planning as many as 432 new mine projects with 2.28 billion tonnes of annual output capacity, research published on Thursday showed, putting targets for slowing global climate change at risk.
China, Australia, India and Russia account for more than three quarters of the new projects, according to a study by U.S. think-tank Global Energy Monitor. China alone is now building another 452 million tonnes of annual production capacity, it said.
"While the IEA (International Energy Agency) has just called for a giant leap toward net zero emissions, coal producers' plans to expand capacity 30% by 2030 would be a leap backward," said Ryan Driskell Tate, Global Energy Monitor research analyst and lead author of the report.
The report said four Chinese provinces and regions alone - Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Shaanxi and Shanxi - account for nearly a quarter of all the proposed new coal mine capacity.
China has pledged to bring its emissions to a peak by 2030 and to net zero by 2060. President Xi Jinping said earlier this year that the country would start to cut coal production, but not until 2026.
Global Energy Monitor said the new projects not only jeopardise efforts to combat global warming, but could risk saddling companies with as much as $91 billion in stranded assets.
"Demand for coal is plummeting and financing for new coal projects is drying up," said Driskell Tate. "New mines and expansions of existing mines will be producing coal for a world in which coal is unviable economically, and untenable for the environment."