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Why Beijing must keep coal out of its belt and road plans

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At the first ever “Belt and Road” forum hosted in Beijing in 2017, President Xi Jinping pledged the US$900 billion infrastructure project would “seize new opportunities … and achieve green and low-carbon development.”

Yet as analysis last month demonstrated, Chinese funding is responsible for more than a quarter of all new coal plants outside its borders, many of which are using outdated technology no longer allowed in China.

President Xi must swiftly reconcile rhetoric and reality. The consequences of a new generation of coal will be toxic for the environment, toxic for financial institutions involved and toxic for China’s reputation.

Failure will be a green dream-turned-nightmare. With the US destined for at least two more years of the energy policy equivalent of trying to remarket the horse and cart, success will mean reinforcing China’s place as the global renewable superpower.

Even leaving aside the health and climate impacts, without subsidies coal can no longer compete with renewable energy on cost

A case in point is Pakistan, a country on the brink of expanding its electricity generation capability with power plants financed and built by China. China’s role in Pakistan’s infrastructure roll-out, known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a key part of its belt........

© South China Morning Post