China Building 300 New Coal Power Plants Around The World

  • Date: 30/04/19
  • 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.

The flow of Chinese financing for new coal-fired power plants throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. GLOBAL COAL FINANCE TRACKER / COALSWARM

China, known as the world’s biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.

So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?

President Xi Jinping hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over the weekend, promoting his signature foreign policy of building massive infrastructureand trade links across several continents.

The forum, attended by leaders and delegates of nearly 40 countries, came amid growing criticism of China’s projects, including their effect on the environment.

China’s President Xi Jinping speaks at a press briefing at the end of the final day of the Belt and Road Forum on Saturday.Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images

Xi took the highly unusual step, for him, of meeting with international journalists, during which he repeated the slogan that he is committed to “open, clean and green development.”

Yet China’s overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that 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.

The plants are significant investments at a time when most nations of the world, including China, have committed to fighting climate change. “When you put money down and put steel into the ground for a coal-fired power plant,” says Cunningham, “it’s a 40- or 50-year commitment.”

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