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Photos of China trains covered in smog grime go viral

Photos of Beijing's smog-covered high-speed trains go viral as China invests $520b in renewable power generation

BEIJING: Photos of grime-covered high-speed trains in Beijing has gone viral.

The photos, published by The Economic Daily newspaper on Wednesday, took the Internet by storm.

Mr Ma Jun, a director at the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs in Beijing, told the Beijing Youth Daily that the grime was likely to have been caused by smog.

The latest round of smog not only had a high density of fine particulates, but also a high level of humidity, he said.

So the announcement yesterday that China will plough 2.5 trillion yuan (S$520 billion) into renewable power generation by 2020 would have come as good news.

The investment will create more than 13 million jobs in the sector, the nation's National Energy Administration (NEA) said in a blueprint document that lays out its plan to develop China's energy sector from 2016 to 2020.

The NEA said installed renewable power capacity including wind, hydro, solar and nuclear power will contribute to about half of new electricity generation by 2020, reported Reuters.

Concerns over the social and economic costs of China's air pollution have increased as the northern parts of the country, including the capital Beijing, have battled a weeks-long bout of hazardous smog.

CHALLENGE

Illustrating the enormity of the challenge, the NEA repeated yesterday that renewables will still only account for just 15 per cent of overall energy consumption by 2020, equivalent to 580 million tonnes of coal.

More than half of the nation's installed power capacity will still be fuelled by coal over the same period. - REUTERS

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