Friday, September 30, 2016

New Data Show:  China Stokes Global Coal Power Growth

China cuts coal at home but new data show that Chinese state owned companies and banks drive new coal expansion overseas, despite top level promises of green growth for developing countries, writes Beth Walker for China Dialogue

Coal power plant in Henan Province, China. (Photo Credit: V.T. Polywoda, 2014)
Chinese companies and banks are continuing to drive global coal expansion, as state owned companies, backed by state loans, build coal-fired power plants across the world.  This is despite commitments from China’s top leaders to deliver clean energy and low carbon infrastructure for developing countries.

The world’s largest carbon emitter aims to reposition itself as a global green power.  In a joint US-China statement at the White House in September 2015, President Xi Jinping agreed to strictly control public investment for overseas projects with high pollution and carbon emissions.  China won praise for promising to peak its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 at the UN climate summit in Paris in 2015 – and trying to wean itself slowly off coal.  Chinese manufacturers are now major suppliers of cheap solar and wind parts worldwide.

However, these efforts are being undercut by Chinese backed coal power plants planned and under construction from Indonesia to Pakistan, Turkey to the Balkans –as well as in Africa and Latin America.  These could boost global emissions and lock developing countries into fossil fuel intensive energy systems for decades.

New data collected by chinadialogue and the CEE Bankwatch Network shows that since 2015 many new Chinese coal plant project deals have been announced and are under development. “The majority of these projects are under loan consideration by China’s policy-driven financing, and supplied by equipment from the country’s largest power generation manufacturers,” said Wawa Wang, public finance policy officer at CEE Bankwatch Network.

Chinese banks and companies are currently involved in at least 79 coal fired generation projects, with a total capacity of over 52 GW, more than the 46 GW of planned coal closures in the US by 2020.

Beijing has encouraged state owned coal companies and energy intensive industries such as concrete, steel and cement, to “go out” as part of the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR). This aims to open up new opportunities for Chinese companies and to build infrastructure to link China to European markets and beyond.

Read more at New Data Show:  China Stokes Global Coal Power Growth

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