China’s coal, mined locally and available at a relatively low cost, has brought enormous benefits to energy consumers in China and to those outside the country who enjoy the products of its coal-based economy. Yet from another perspective, China’s coal use has a high cost. Despite progress, health and safety in the thousands of small coal mines lag far behind the standards achieved in China’s modern, large mines. Environmental degradation is a real and pressing problem at all stages of coal production, supply and use. Adding to these burdens, emissions of carbon dioxide are of concern to the Chinese government as it embarks on its own climate protection strategy.
Technology solutions are already transforming the way coal is used in China and elsewhere. This study explores the context in which the development and deployment of these technologies can be accelerated. Providing a large amount of new data, it describes in detail the situation in China as well as the experiences of other countries in making coal cleaner. Above all, the report calls for much greater levels of collaboration – existing bi-lateral and multi-lateral co-operation with China on coal is found lacking. China’s growing openness presents many commercial opportunities. Establishing a global market for cleaner coal technologies is key to unlocking the potential of technology – one of ten major recommendations made in this study.