Chinese President Xi Jinping said that China will no longer fund the construction of new overseas coal-fired power generation projects, and for the second year in a row at the United Nations General Assembly to surprise the world on climate issues.
China supports coal projects in developing countries such as Indonesia and Bangladesh, and is under heavy diplomatic pressure to request the termination of financing to help the world achieve the goal of reducing carbon emissions in the Paris climate agreement.
Xi Jinping announced the news on Tuesday, after South Korea and Japan took similar measures earlier this year.
“China will increase its support for the development of green and low-carbon energy in other developing countries, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi Jinping said in a pre-recorded video speech at the UN Annual General Assembly.
A few hours ago, US President Joe Biden announced a plan to double financial aid to poorer countries to $11.4 billion by 2024 to help these countries switch to cleaner energy sources and deal with the worsening global warming. Influence.
Although Xi Jinping’s speech lacks details, these measures can provide some impetus to COP26, which is the key global climate negotiation that will begin in Glasgow, Scotland at the end of October.
“This is definitely a groundbreaking moment,” said Ma Xinyue, an expert in energy development finance at the Center for Global Development Policy at Boston University.
In the preparation phase of the historic 2015 Paris climate agreement, the US-China joint agreement helped initiate successful negotiations.
The US climate envoy John Kerry quickly welcomed Xi Jinping’s statement, calling it a “great contribution” and laying a good foundation for Glasgow’s success.
“We have been discussing this matter with China for a long time. I am very happy to hear that President Xi has made this important decision,” Kerry said in a statement.
Alok Sharma, the British minister in charge of COP26, also welcomed Xi Jinping’s announcement.
“Obviously, coal power has been written on the wall. I welcome President Xi’s pledge to stop building new coal projects abroad-an important topic discussed during my visit to China,” he said on Twitter.
“A real game changer”
Climate activists also welcomed the promise of the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Kevin Gallagher, head of the Boston University Center, said that from 2013 to 2019, data shows that China funded 13% of the installed coal-fired power generation capacity built outside of China — “absolutely the largest Public financiers”.
Climate Advocacy Movement 350.org called Xi Jinping’s statement “significant” and said it could be a “real game changer” depending on when it takes effect.
Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics at the World Resources Institute, said this is “a historic turning point away from the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel.”
“China’s commitment shows that the international public financing pipeline for coal is closing,” she said, but noted that Beijing continues to invest in coal domestically.
Last year, China’s new coal-fired power generation capacity was 38.4 GW, more than three times the global new coal-fired power generation capacity.
The NGO stated in a letter earlier this year that the state-owned Bank of China is the largest single funder of coal projects, providing $35 billion since the Paris climate agreement.
Xi Jinping reiterated last year’s commitment that China will achieve the peak of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
Some experts criticized these goals for not being ambitious enough, although these promises allowed Beijing to take the moral high ground on the issue after then-U.S. President Donald Trump called climate change a “scam” to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
Biden’s first move after taking office in January was to return the United States to the Paris Agreement.
“China is the last person standing. Without the coal public finances from China, there would be almost no global coal expansion,” Justin Guay, director of global climate strategy for the Sunrise Project, said of Xi Jinping’s commitments. .
Guterres welcomed Xi Jinping’s coal measures and Biden’s commitment to help developing countries deal with climate change.
He said in a statement: “Accelerating the global phase-out of coal is the most important step in making the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement within reach.