Panel 07 (Tiganj)
The shift to a low-emission future: China’s energy industry in transition
Julia Tiganj, M.A. (Research Center of Post-Mining at the THGA University, Bochum)
In 2022, despite global crises such as climate change or raw material shortages, China still represents the largest global emitter of CO2 through its enormous hard coal mining industry. At the same time, China is committed to achieving climate neutrality. The potential required for this is identified at first glance: Renewable energies. The rare earths needed for the production process of such alternatives are available in large dimensions. But, how sustainable and environmentally friendly are these alternatives? The downsides of these products are becoming clear, starting with their production, through the duration of their use, to their subsequent disposal. The environmental consequences of air pollution and toxic wastewater are accepted or underestimated in order to support a green development in the end. These effects have a long-term impact on the ecological development: for humans, animals and the environment. An example of such developments is shown through the city of Baotou, Inner Mongolia. This region is known for its intensive mining and abundance of rare earths. Based on the life cycle assessment methodology used, the situation is analyzed. The life cycle assessment is still highly underrepresented in this research field and needs more reliable data and calculations for improved policy decisions and strategic action in the future.The results show the present precipitation for the vegetation there to the effects on the human health.
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