China

Fifteen Chinese backed overseas coal projects cancelled

Photo credit: Reuters / David Gray.

By Anders Lorenzen

As we reported last year, China is to end the financing of coal projects abroad.  

A new analysis found that the results of this new policy are already starting to emerge.

Fifteen Chinese backed coal projects which are in the planning stages are to be scrapped with a total generating capacity of 12.8 gigawatts (GW). In addition, research shows that another 37 GW of capacity currently at a pre-construction stage could also be averted.

However, there are concerns that nevertheless there are still 18 major projects with a total capacity of 19.2 GW that could still go ahead. This is according to the Centre for Research and Clean Air (CREA), a think tank based in Helsinki, Finland.

There was global praise for China when President Xi Jinping last September announced that they would end overseas coal projects as their contribution to tackling the climate crisis. However, critics pointed to the fact that at home there was no such pledge.

50$ billion worth of coal investments to be scrapped

The move by China was estimated to impact up to 50$ billion worth of coal investments, but it was unclear whether existing construction plans would go ahead.

However, new guidelines published last month by China’s state planning agency encouraged the re-examination of another 30 China-backed plants under construction overseas with a total capacity of 30 GW, CREA said.

While China’s ambition for coal reductions could be higher, many climate advocates would be encouraged that these new guidelines indicate that more than a third of all new coal power projects outside China and India will be scrapped.

Meanwhile, at home, China is still building significant amounts of new coal capacity with an estimated 33 GW going into construction last year, 2021, which is the most since 2016.

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