December 6, 2018 Read More →

China pushes outdated coal technology onto other countries

AFP:

Even as China struggles to curb domestic coal-fired power and the deadly pollution it produces, the world’s top carbon emitter is aggressively exporting the same troubled technology to Asia, Africa and the Middle East, an investigation by AFP has shown.

The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from these Chinese-backed plants could cripple global efforts to rein in global warming caused by the burning of fossil fuels — especially coal, analysts warn.

“China is a world leader in terms of embracing the policy and investment needs to progressively decarbonise its economy,” said Tim Buckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). “But internationally, China continues to invest in a range of coal project in direct contradiction to its domestic energy strategy.”

Globally, coal use accounts for 40 percent of CO2 emissions, and is on the rise after declining slightly from 2014 to 2016. More than two-fifths of the world’s electricity is generated by coal-fired power, nearly double the share of natural gas and 15 times as much as solar and wind combined.

A quarter of coal plants in the planning stage or under construction outside China are backed by Chinese state-owned financial institutions and corporations, according to research by IEEFA, an energy finance think-tank based in Cleveland, Ohio.

“The risk is locking these countries into something that won’t be good for them in the long-run, and that is incompatible with the Paris climate agreement’s temperature goals,” said Christine Shearer, an energy analyst for CoalSwarm and lead author of the research, which is slated for publication later this month. Many of the recipients of China’s largesse — Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, Zimbabwe and half a dozen others — currently have little or no coal-fired power, and no coal to fuel future plants. “That means they will have to build import infrastructure, or even coals mines,” Shearer told AFP.

More: China’s unbridled export of coal power imperils climate goals

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