Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that for the second year in a row at the UN General Assembly, China will not finance the construction of new coal-fired power projects abroad, surprising the world with its climate.
China has supported coal projects in developing countries, including Indonesia and Bangladesh, and is under intense diplomatic pressure to cut off funding to help the world meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to reduce carbon emissions.
Xi’s announcement on Tuesday follows similar moves by South Korea and Japan earlier this year.
“China will increase support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” Xi said in a pre-recorded video speech at the UN’s annual assembly.
The pledge comes just hours after US President Joe Biden announced plans to double aid to poor countries to ১১ 11.b billion by 202, to help them become clean energy and counteract the effects of global warming.
Although Shi’s speech was brief in detail, these initiatives could give some momentum to the move to COP26, the main global climate discussion starting in late October in the Scottish city of Glasgow.
“This is a very important moment,” said Geniu Ma, an expert in energy development finance at Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center.
Under the 2015 Paris Historic Paris Climate Agreement, the US-China Joint Agreement helped launch successful negotiations.
U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry quickly welcomed Shi’s announcement, calling it a “great contribution” and a good foundation for success in Glasgow.
“We have been talking to China about this for some time. “I am just happy to hear that President Xi has made this important decision,” Kerry said in a statement.
Alok Sharma, a British minister led by COP 226, also welcomed Shi’s announcement.
“It is clear that there is writing on the wall for coal power. I welcome President Xi’s commitment to stop building new coal projects abroad – a key topic of discussion during my visit to China.
Climate advocates have welcomed the commitment of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter.
From 2013 to 2011, data showed that China was financing 1 percent of coal-fired power generation outside of China – the “largest public financier by far”, according to Kevin Gallagher, who runs the Boston University Center.
The Climate Support Movement called 350.org Shi’s announcement “huge” and said it could be a “real game-changer” depending on when it takes effect.
This is “a historic turning point from the world’s dirty fossil fuels,” said Helen Mountford, vice president of climate and economics at the World Resource Institute.
“China’s commitment shows that international public financing firehouses for coal are being shut down,” he said but noted that Beijing is investing in coal sitting at home.
China last year launched a new coal-fired power plant of coal..4 gigawatts – three times more than the global line.
Private groups said in a letter earlier this year that the state-owned Bank of China is the largest single fund for coal projects since the Paris Climate Agreement, providing 35 35 billion.
Xi has promised since last year that China will achieve carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060.
Some experts have criticized the goal as not being ambitious enough, although the promises have allowed Beijing to claim moral heights on the issue after then-US President Donald Trump, who called climate change a “deception”, pulled out of the Paris climate deal.
One of Biden’s first steps since taking office in January was to return the United States to the Paris Agreement.
“China was the last man. If there is no public finance for coal from China, global coal expansion will be rare. .
Guterres welcomed Shi’s move on coal and Biden’s commitment to helping developing countries tackle climate change.
“Accelerating the global stage from coal is the single most important step in achieving the 1.5-degree target of the Paris Agreement,” he said in a statement.