In the wake of the Paris Climate Agreement, it is pretty shocking to see these photographs taken in the Shanxi province in Northern China. Shanxi is the leading producer of coal in the most populated country in the world, with about 260 billion metric tons of coal deposits, a third of China’s total. The region produces more than 300 million metric tones of coal annually, and heavily depends on coal mining and burning coal for energy. That makes Shanxi is one of the most polluted areas in China.

Over the weekend 195 countries approved an agreement to set targets on reducing carbon emissions — the primary cause of global warming — in an attempt to forge a new global agreement on climate change. China is the source of nearly a third of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. China’s government has publicly set 2030 as a deadline to reach the country’s emissions peak, and data suggest its coal consumption is already in decline. But based on the scenes below captured by Getty Images photographer Kevin Frayer, this could be a daunting challenge.

A coal mine worker monitors a sorting area at a coal mine


Miners in a coal mine


Grave markers are seen in a cemetary as smoke billows from a coal fired power plant


Residents walk in a neighborhood next to a coal fired power plant


The boot of a miner resting on a piece of coal


Workers monitor a sorting area at a coal mine


Workers stands next to a coal sorting machinery


Workers watches coal move on a belt


A mine worker warms herself over a stove as she takes a break


Workers sort coal for quality


Wearing mask is a must


A mine worker stands in front of his locker after finishing a shift


Coal is piled up as it is sorted at a coal mine


A woman collects coal in a sorting area at a mine


Man of coal


Residents wear masks for protection


Wang Nu,83, looks out the window of her house next to a coal fired power plant


Cityscape


A man carries coal he collected from a sorting area


Photos: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images