As nations the world over are being urged to phase out the use of fossil fuels, China has reportedly given the go ahead for five-times as many new coal mines in the first half of 2019, compared with new capacity over the previous year.

Despite plans to gradually wean itself off consumption of the commodity, government documents seen by Reuters suggest its energy regulator approved 141 million tonnes of new annual production capacity between January and June, as opposed to 25 million tonnes over the entirety of 2018.

The approved projects include new facilities in Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Shanxi and Shaanxi, while Beijing, specifically, is due to increase its consumption of the commodity despite an ostensible commitment to clearing the smog and pollution that plague its streets.


New Chinese coal mines counter to long-term global efforts

Many cities across China suffer as a result of the pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, which has prompted the capital to commit to increasing the share of renewables in its specific energy mix to 15% by the end of the year.

But elsewhere across the country coal output is on the rise, having increased 2.6% over the first six months of 2019 to 1.76 billion tonnes.

Last month, China State Grid Corporation predicted the total capacity of the commodity would reach up to 1,350GW over the coming years, meaning a potential surge of 300GW.

Meanwhile, other countries around the globe, particularly in Europe, are actively legislating against the continued use of coal.

The UK became the first country in the world to officially commit to phasing-out its coal operations in 2015, just before the landmark Paris climate meeting.

Come 2025, the country will set a limit on the amount of emissions coal-fired plants are allowed to produce, forcing those without carbon capture technology to close.

Elsewhere, Germany has historically been one of Europe’s top coal producers with an installed capacity of almost 50GW, but by 2038 it plans to phase-out all coal-fired facilities.

It marks a key element of its move towards renewable energy, following the landmark 2011 decision to phase-out the use of nuclear power by 2022.

A spate of other European countries have also recently joined the list, with the Netherlands, Finland and Portugal all publicly committing to phasing out use of coal over the next few years.