The city of Beijing will shut down the last of its four major coal-fired generating stations in 2016 in an attempt to reduce air pollution. The plants will be replaced by natural gas plants that can produce 2.6 times more electricity.
“The closures are part of a broader trend in China,” Bloomberg reports. “Facing pressure at home and abroad, policy-makers are racing to address the environmental damage seen as a byproduct of breakneck economic growth. Beijing plans to cut annual coal consumption by 13 million metric tons by 2017 from the 2012 level in a bid to slash the concentration of pollutants.”
China is also expected to close 2,000 smaller coal mines between 2013 and the end of 2015.
“Air pollution has attracted more public attention in the past few years as heavy smog envelops swathes of the nation, including Beijing and Shanghai,” Bloomberg notes. “About 90% of the 161 cities whose air quality was monitored in 2014 failed to meet official standards.”