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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers the keynote speech at the second Belt to Road Forum in Beijing last week. Photo: Xinhua
This past weekend Chinese President Xi Jinping hosted the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing which promoted China’s foreign policy initiatives of supporting massive infrastructure projects within its partner countries. The forum was attended by heads of state from nations who are hungry for Chinese investment despite that previous projects funded by China were marred by controversy and there’s growing criticism of the environmental impact of many of these investments. Some of these ventures include, as NPR reported, hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. So even if China is working to decrease coal and expand renewables within its own borders, it’s still investing in dirty energy around the world.
More from NPR:
China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines.
Days before the forum with its “clean and green” theme, the latest Chinese-built coal plant opened in Pakistan.
As The Diplomat explained, overseas, “Chinese financial institutions are involved in a quarter of all coal power plant capacity under development. Much of this funding goes under the banner of the “Belt and Road.” While the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is technology-agnostic, funding for energy has been dominated by coal: From 2014 to 2017, China spent $51 billion on power projects under the BRI, 36 percent of which went to coal projects and 11 percent to solar and wind.”
Why This Matters: While China has vowed to shut down coal plants at home some experts worry this progress is negated by the nation’s fossil fuel investments. Additionally, as more Chinese coal plants are shuttered, Chinese engineers and construction workers must somehow be kept employed and are seeking work abroad building fossil fuel infrastructure funded by their nation’s banks. Coal is a major contributor to climate change as well as air and water pollution and new coal plants have a useful life of about 30 years, so once they’re built there’s going to be an incentive to use them. While China has previously signaled its intent to limit investment in coal and to green its Belt to Road Initiative, it hasn’t formally taken steps to do so.
As Electrek reported, last week Ohio unanimously approved the Icebreaker wind farm, North America’s first offshore freshwater project planned for Lake Erie near Cleveland. However, there’s a rather large hitch that could put an end to the entire project. At the very last minute, the Ohio Power Siting Board ruled on Thursday that the project could […]
Oil and gas companies continue to pump the government for cash. Bloomberg Law News reported that the Administration has granted 76 royalty waivers to oil and gas companies who are drilling for oil on federal land in Utah — lowering the rates from 12.5% to as low as 2.5%.
Why This Matters: The giveaways to oil and gas companies in the name of saving jobs just keep coming.
To put it bluntly, the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has been a 12-year catastrophe. From when the pipeline (stretching from Alberta to Nebraska) was first proposed in 2008, to when it was vetoed by President Obama in 2015, to the Trump administration’s fractured attempt to reinstate construction, the pipeline has been the embodiment […]
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