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Critics take aim at China’s coal plant financing in Belt and Road Initiative

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:China will host a trillion-dollar investment summit this weekend amid rising concerns that its funding of overseas coal projects could swamp efforts to keep global warming to less than 1.5C. The Belt and Road forum, which opens on Friday in Beijing, has been billed by climate campaigners as a pivotal moment that will determine whether China uses its vast financial weight to nudge the world towards renewable energy or continues to promote expansion by its fossil fuel companies.In recent years Chinese banks have become the lenders of last resort for coal projects in south Asia, Africa and the Balkans that the World Bank and other international institutes have refused to fund because this dirtiest of fuels is the primary source of carbon emissions from electricity generation.Although China has won kudos for trying to clean up its environment by cutting dependence on coal, its companies are making up for lost business at home by expanding overseas. Most of their funding comes from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China says the BRI, which was launched by the president, Xi Jinping, in 2013, accelerates development in many of the world’s poorest countries and builds trade routes that benefit the global economy.Critics say it is a tool to project geopolitical power, suck up overseas resources and vent the excess capacity of a slowing domestic economy, particularly in the steel, construction and power industries. From an environmental perspective, the primary concern is that Beijing is exporting a highly polluting model of growth.Coal is likely to be at the centre of the debate. China’s banks have earmarked $36bn for 102 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity in 23 countries, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Last year two-fifths of the country’s overseas investment was reportedly spent on this dirty energy.The biggest recipient, with $7bn, is Bangladesh, where China is vying for influence with Japan, South Korea and India. All four countries are building thermal plants in Bangladesh. Last year China Huadian Hongkong Company Limited signed a deal with a local partner to build a 1,320-megawatt plant at Moheshkhali island.More: Belt and Road summit puts spotlight on Chinese coal funding Critics take aim at China’s coal plant financing in Belt and Road Initiativelast_img read more