India retired roughly 7.4 gigawatts (GW) and added 82.3 GW of coal power plants in one and a half years, while China retired 39.4 GW and added 290 GW worth of coal power plants in this period, a report said on Wednesday.
A Global Energy Monitor report from January 2018 to June 2019 said countries outside of China decreased their total coal power capacity by 8.1 GW, while China increased its coal fleet by 42.9 GW.
The report, 'Out of Step: China is driving the continued growth of the global coal fleet', is based on plant-by-plant research.
It finds that from 2018 through June 2019, countries outside of China decreased their total coal power capacity due to steady retirements and an ongoing decline in the commissioning of new coal plants.
Over the same period, China increased its coal fleet by 42.9 GW, and as a result the global coal fleet overall grew by 34.9 GW.
This dichotomy is poised to continue.
China has 147.7 GW of coal plants either under active construction or under suspension and likely to be revived -- an amount nearly equivalent to the existing coal power capacity of the European Union (150 GW).
The total is more than the amount under construction in the rest of the world combined (105.2 GW).
Meanwhile, China's coal and power industry groups are proposing that the country's current coal power capacity of 1,027 GW be increased to a range of 1,200 and 1,400 GW by 2035.
According to the report, any further increase in China's coal power capacity is not compatible with the Paris climate agreement to hold warming well below two degrees Celsius, much less a large increase in coal power capacity through 2035.
China's proposal to continue growing its coal fleet through 2035 comes as 31 countries have proposed phasing out coal power by 2030.
Of the countries that continue to develop coal, China is financing over a quarter (102 GW) of all proposed coal plants outside its borders, including most coal power capacity under development in South Africa, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, among others.
Combined with domestic proposals, Chinese financing is behind over half of all global coal power capacity currently under development.
"China's proposed coal expansion is so far out of alignment with the Paris Agreement that it would put the necessary reductions in coal power out of reach, even if every other country were to completely eliminate its coal fleet," Christine Shearer of Global Energy Monitor said.
"Instead of expanding further, China needs to make significant reductions to its coal fleet over the coming decade."
"China's continued expansion flies directly in the face of the UN Secretary General's statement at the Climate Action Summit in September that no new coal plants should be built after 2020," said Ted Nace of Global Energy Monitor.
Global Energy Monitor is a network of researchers providing information on fossil energy projects, including coal-fired power plants, gas-fired power plants, oil and gas pipelines, LNG terminals, and coal mines.