The president of China, Xi Jinping, on Tuesday made a pledge to halt all new coal-fired power projects outside the country. Jinping made the announcement in his address at the United Nations General Assembly.
Beijing has been under pressure from environmentalists to end the financing of new coal projects as the world tries to meet Paris climate agreement targets. China had a pipeline of coal projects across many developing countries in Africa and Asia including Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Vietnam etc.
According to Georgetown University, China, Japan and South Korea account for more than 95% of all foreign financing for coal-fired power plants. The new policy adopted by Beijing will have a significant impact in renewable energy deployment.
“China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad,” said Xi.
The US Climate Envoy John Kerry welcomed China’s announcement saying he is “absolutely delighted to hear that President Xi has made this important decision”.
China’s move to accelerate renewable energy developments in developing countries has been welcomed by the markets with share prices of Chinese renewable energy companies surging.Shares of China Resources Power Holdings Co. rose by 14% after the announcement. Wind-farm operator China Longyuan Power Group Corp. experienced a 9.2% rise.
As a major investor of infrastructure projects in developing economies through its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s plans to drive renewable energy will certainly be crucial in accelerating the uptake of renewables in many countries.