China pledges to stop funding overseas coal-fired power plants: NPR
GREG BAKER / AFP via Getty Images
President Xi Jinping said China will stop funding the construction of new coal-fired power plants abroad. This move could severely limit the global expansion of coal, which produces significant heat trapping emissions.
The announcement provides the momentum needed as countries prepare to negotiate major new climate change commitments in November at the COP26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. Globally, emissions continue to rise, as scientists warn they must drop nearly 50% by 2030 to avoid more extreme storms, heat waves and droughts.
Xi did not give a timeline for ending coal funding overseas and did not address China’s plans to continue building coal-fired power plants in his country.
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Xi also said that China will support the development of renewable energy overseas. China was the financial backbone of around half of the world’s planned coal projects, in countries like South Africa, Vietnam and Bangladesh, according to a report by think tank E2G.
“This opens the door for bolder climate ambition from China and other key countries, at home and abroad, ahead of the global climate talks in Glasgow,” said Manish Bapna, chief executive officer of the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a statement.
While renewables have developed significantly in China, coal power is still king and is expected to continue to grow there. Many other countries are seeing the opposite trend. Natural gas and renewables like solar and wind power have become significantly cheaper, leading to the cancellation of many coal-fired projects around the world in recent years.
Xi also reiterated China’s comprehensive climate commitment: emissions will peak before 2030 and the country will become carbon neutral by 2060. “It takes hard work and we will do everything we can to achieve these goals.” , did he declare.
“China will step up support to other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.”
President Xi at #UNGA
– Chinese Mission to the UN (@ Chinamission2un) September 21, 2021
The United States and other countries have pressured China to become more committed to reducing emissions. China is the world leader in greenhouse gas production, a position the United States held until 2006.
Under current global commitments, global emissions are expected to increase by about 16% in 2030, compared to 2010. This would put the planet on track to warming over 4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100. At this point , rising sea levels would flood the coasts, extreme heat waves would be much more frequent, and more intense floods and droughts would potentially displace tens of millions of people.
“While today’s announcements are welcome, we still have a long way to go to make COP26 a success and ensure that it marks a turning point in our collective efforts to address the climate crisis. “said UN Secretary General António Guterres.