Last year, China’s President Xi Jinping pledged to address climate change by lowering the country’s carbon dioxide emissions and effectively achieving carbon neutrality in the next four decades.
Beijing is giving up its coal-fired power projects in foreign countries, the Chinese president announced during the United Nations General Assembly meeting on Tuesday.
“China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi Jinping told the world leaders in a prerecorded video. Neither he, nor Putin nor Macron went to New York on Tuesday to personally greet their colleagues from all over the world.
The Beijing-based International Institute of Green Finance estimates that over 70% of plants fired by coal rely on Chinese money. The initiative would significantly shake up the industry and potentially bring international funding for “the dirtiest fossil fuel” to an imminent collapse, according to the Bloomberg Green review.
The Natural Resources Defence Council’s president Manish Bapna praised China’s pledge:
“This is a major step forward. This opens the door to bolder climate ambition from China and other key countries, at home and abroad,” Bapna said in a statement, following Xi’s announcement.
Just a year ago, the president of China, which is the world’s biggest source of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, promised that the country would aim to achieve carbon neutrality before 2060.
He told the UN General Assembly in September 2020 that CO2 emissions would peak before 2030, as China was estimated to be responsible for some 28% of global emissions.
By 2030, the country is planning to lower its carbon dioxide emissions per one unit of GDP by more than 65% from its 2005 levels, but many have been watching closely to see what concrete measures the Communist Party is actually taking to help fight climate change.
So far, China’s no-coal-fired-plants promise has been consistent with its actions. The country’s Belt and Road Initiative, which provides funding for global infrastructure projects, didn’t invest in any coal developments in the first half of this year for the first time since it was adopted in 2013.