China will not build coal plants abroad. President Xi announced in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly.
An important decision to reduce global CO2 emissions, although coal remains the primary source of energy in China itself and the construction of power stations in the country, is still ongoing.
In recent years, China has built or invested in coal plants abroad as part of the significant Chinese infrastructure project Belt and Road Initiative, a 21st-century version of the Silk Road. Such coal-fired power stations were built in Indonesia and Vietnam, among others.
But the construction of those power stations is controversial because they emit a lot of CO2. As a result, China came under increasing pressure to stop. They are a significant brake on achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, which incidentally was recorded – Xi did not go to New York but stayed in China, the Chinese president announced what had been expected for some time: China will no longer build coal plants abroad. . China, on the other hand, will “support developing countries more in developing green and low-carbon energy,” Xi said.
He did not give more details. It is unclear whether the measure will take effect immediately, nor will previously be approved power stations no longer be built. He also spoke about the construction of power stations. What about financing power stations abroad? Will the Chinese stop with that too?
In any case, this is a critical decision for reducing global CO2 emissions, and it immediately received positive reactions. John Kerry, the US government’s climate envoy, responded “absolutely delighted” at the Chinese announcement. And Alok Sharma, the head of the UN climate conference in Glasgow later this year, also welcomed the decision on Twitter. He also looks ahead to the climate conference: “At COP26, we must refer coal to history.”