Petroleum coke, or petcoke, is a byproduct of the petroleum refining process that produces more greenhouse gas emissions than coal or natural gas. Paul Haenle and Wang Tao discussed how the substance, which is used to generate power and manufacture aluminum, is an overlooked complication to China’s efforts to combat climate change.
Wang pointed out that how the rising price of coal has led an increasing number of Chinese firms to turn to petcoke as an inexpensive alternative fuel, as they seek to manage costs. Noting that few Chinese policymakers are aware of petcoke’s environmental impact, Wang suggested that the Chinese government should monitor and measure petcoke use more rigorously, in concert with potential policy responses such as carbon taxes or import tariffs, so as to minimize petcoke’s contributions to air pollution in China.
Wang Tao is a resident scholar in the Energy and Climate Program based at the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. His research focuses on China’s climate and energy policy, with particular attention to unconventional oil and natural gas, transportation, electric vehicles, and international climate negotiations.
Paul Haenle is the director of the Carnegie–Tsinghua Center for Global Policy. Prior to joining Carnegie, he served from June 2007 to June 2009 as the director for China, Taiwan, and Mongolian Affairs on the National Security Council staffs of former president George W. Bush and President Barack Obama.