BEIJING Aug 12 China's capital Beijing cut
total coal consumption by 7 percent in the first half of 2014 as
part of its efforts to tackle smog, the official Xinhua news
agency reported, citing data from its environmental protection
Beijing is at the front line of a "war on pollution"
declared by the central government earlier this year in a bid to
head off public unrest about the growing environmental costs of
The city has already started to close or relocate hundreds
of factories and industrial plants. It will also raise vehicle
fuel standards and is mulling the introduction of a London-style
To reduce coal consumption, it is in the process of shutting
down all of its ageing coal-fired power plants and replacing
them with cleaner natural gas-fired capacity or with power
delivered via the grid.
Based on last year's coal consumption level of 19 million
tonnes, the 7 percent cut would amount to around 1.33 million
tonnes per year. Beijing has said previously that it plans to
reduce total coal use by 2.6 million tonnes in 2014. By 2017, it
aims to slash consumption to less than 10 million tonnes a year.
The Beijing environmental bureau said the city had cut total
sulphur dioxide emissions by 5.43 percent over the first six
months of the year. It also took 176,000 substandard vehicles
off the road over the period.
Previous data issued by the Ministry of Environmental
Protection showed that concentrations of hazardous airborne
particles known as PM2.5 in Beijing stood at 91.6 micrograms per
cubic meter in the first half of the year, down 11.2 percent
year on year but still more than twice as high as the
recommended national standard of 35 mcg.
Much of the pollution that hits Beijing drifts in from the
surrounding province of Hebei, a major heavy industrial region
that was home to seven of China's 10 most polluted cities in the
first half of the year.
Under new plans to integrate Beijing with Hebei and the port
city of Tianjin, the region will be treated as a "single entity"
with unified industrial and emission standards.
Hebei said last week that it had cut total coal consumption
by 7.53 million tonnes in the first half of 2014, amounting to
just over half of its target of 15 million tonnes for the year.
The province agreed last year to cut total coal use by 40
million tonnes by 2017, and it is also planning to shed at least
60 million tonnes of excess steel capacity over the same period.
(Reporting by David Stanway; Editing by Michael Perry)