Greenpeace activists unfurl a banner condemning the use of coal, on a dry riverbed near one of the Beijing's …

BEIJING (AFP) – China's energy firms must do more to combat climate change and reduce dependence on coal, environmental group Greenpeace said on Tuesday, warning of a rise in "extreme" weather.

"China is suffering the pains of extreme weather events such as droughts, heatwaves, typhoons and floods, worsened by climate change," Greenpeace China's climate campaigner Yang Ailun said as he unveiled a new report.

"These power companies can and must help China to prevent climate disaster by rapidly increasing efficiency and the share of renewable energy such as wind and solar."

The new Greenpeace China report urged China's top 10 power companies to take the lead in addressing global warming and cutting greenhouse gas emissions as they are the biggest emitters.

"To ensure energy security, environmental protection and healthy economic and societal development, the electricity sector... must play a strong role in tackling climate change and reducing China's reliance on coal," the report said.

For every one kilowatt hour of energy produced, China emits 1.8 times more carbon dioxide than the average in Japan's electricity sector and significantly more than in Germany and the United States, it said.

The report urged the government to drive the nation's energy companies towards renewable energy by implementing environmental and energy taxes on coal burning.

China should also double its national renewable energy target for 2020 to 30 percent of total energy production, it said.

China's power companies must quicken the pace of shutting down or converting inefficient power plants and should be made to publish detailed strategies on addressing climate change and reducing carbon emissions, it said.

China is adding energy capacity at a rapid speed, but power generated by coal continues to account for about 70 percent of the overall mix, the report said.

In 2008, China's biggest three power companies China Huaneng, China Datang and China Guodian emitted more greenhouse gases than all the United Kingdom, it added.