China’s Coal Pledge Could Have Canada-Sized Emissions Impact
(Bloomberg) -- China’s pledge to stop building coal-fired power plants overseas could curb annual carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 646 million tons, according to a report from Boston University Global Development Policy Center.
That’s the same as Canada’s annual fossil CO2 emissions and equates to 119 gigawatts of generating capacity, the study said. That total is also the broadest interpretation of the announcement made by China’s President Xi Jinping at the United Nations in September. It includes both plants under construction and those being planned involving Chinese capital and contractors.
Cutting power generation from coal is essential to limiting global warming, though China has yet to clarify what projects are covered by Xi’s policy change. In the run-up to the Group of 20 summit in Rome last month, one official warned that some overseas coal plants in early-stage development by China would continue. And neither China, nor the U.S., signed up to last week’s pledge by 18 nations at the COP26 summit in Glasgow to phase out coal power.
After Chinese policy banks supported 29.6 gigawatts of coal plants around the world since 2000, China could shift its approach to energy financing, according to the Boston University study.
“One major opportunity for a transition away from coal is for China to re-direct support towards renewable energy,” the report’s researchers said.
Chinese companies have helped construct 135.6 gigawatts of coal-fired plants currently in operation. About 18.4 gigawatts of capacity backed by Chinese capital is being planned, with another 23.5 gigawatts under construction, the report showed.
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