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If the world is to stand any chance of avoiding a catastrophic increase in temperatures, the global economy has to move away–very quickly–from using fossil fuels, and especially coal, to generate electricity.

Both China and India pledged at the 2021 Glasow COP26 global climate summit to phase down the use of coal and to reduce carbon emissions from their industrial sector.

Pledges. Can’t eat ’em. Can’t use them to pay the bills. Turns out, you can’t even believe them.

Last year, China last year approved the largest expansion of coal-fired power plants since 2015, according to a new report from the Finland-based Center for Research on Energy and Clean Air and the Global Energy Monitor.

In 2022 authorities granted permits for 106 gigawatts of capacity across 82 locations, the highest number in seven years and four times higher than in 2021. Not all those projects will necessarily materialize. But local governments appear to be moving as quickly as possible, with 50 gigawatts of construction now underway. Already responsible for about half of the world’s coal production and consumption, the new facilities in China are equivalent to about six times the amount of total coal capacity added in the rest of the world.

And in India?

At the 2021 global climate forum in Glasgow, India publicly promised a “phase down” of coal. But that doesn’t actually mean that India will use less coal—-only that the country will gradually generate a smaller proportion of its overall energy with coal as the use of renewables increases. In absolute terms, India’s coal production and consumption will expand dramatically.

The Indian government has set a target of producing 1 billion tons of coal in fiscal 2024, which ends in March 2024, up from 700 million tons produced so far in the current fiscal year ending next month. It is urging mining companies to excavate coal as quickly as possible because electricity demand is projected to soar. India is still connecting millions of remote homes to the power grid and, over the next two decades, expects to add as much new power generation as the amount now used by the entire European Union, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency.

Time to admit that we’re not going to rein in carbon emissions by 2030 or 2035 or even 2050?