Environmental non-governmental organisation Greenpeace recently found that while coal investment in the Guangdong province has dropped, investment in fossil fuel projects has risen by a fifth.
This is despite places like Guangdong being an economic powerhouse, which should mean the availability of more resources to innovate and experiment with transitioning to a cleaner energy system, said Ms Qiu Chengcheng, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace East Asia.
She added it seems Guangdong is looking to fossil gas as a “late-stage transition fuel”, as it wants to ensure its energy security even as it has pledged to cut coal.
“It will be a vicious cycle if you’re just going to put on more fossil fuels exacerbating climate change,” she said.
The increased investment in fossil fuel projects was also seen in other places in China, going up by 5 per cent annually since 2020 in Zhejiang province, and 19.9 per cent annually in Shanghai.
China’s pursuit of its clean energy targets has also been hampered by extreme weather this year, with a historic drought and heatwave drying up rivers and affecting hydropower output in the country’s southwest.