China’s overseas coal investments challenge climate goals

Though China’s coal power plant investments have focused on South and Southeast Asian countries, they are now popping up throughout Africa, East Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and even Latin America (source: macpixxel for GIS)
Though China’s coal power plant investments have focused on South and Southeast Asian countries, they are now popping up throughout Africa, East Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Europe and even Latin America (source: macpixxel for GIS)

In recent years, rich Western countries and international financial institutions have adopted policies to restrict the construction of new coal power plants overseas. However, China has now risen to become the largest global provider of public financing for such projects – and is powering full steam ahead. Though they contradict Beijing’s global climate obligations, these investments serve its domestic energy and economic policies, as well as strategic and foreign policy objectives.

In November 2015, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and its 34 member states agreed to limit state funding for new overseas coal power projects to only the most efficient p...

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