China: Stick with Paris Agreement. But if Not, We are Ready Lead World, Suckers
January 17, 2017
China’s energy regulator has ordered 11 provinces to stop more than 100 coal-fired power projects, with a combined installed capacity of more than 100 gigawatts, its latest dramatic step to curb the use of fossil fuels in the world’s top energy market.
In a document issued on Jan. 14, financial media group Caixin reported, the National Energy Administration (NEA) suspended the coal projects, some of which were already under construction.
The projects worth some 430 billion yuan ($62 billion) were to have been spread across provinces and autonomous regions including Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi and other northwestern areas.
Putting the power projects on hold is a major step towards the government’s effort to produce power from renewable sources such as solar and wind, and wean the country off coal, which accounts for the majority of the nation’s power supply.
“Stopping under-construction projects seems wasteful and costly, but spending money and resources to finish these completely unneeded plants would be even more wasteful,” said Greenpeace in a statement.
The move follows similar initiatives last year and comes after the government said in November it would eliminate or delay at least 150 GW of coal-fired power projects between 2016 and 2020 and cap coal power generation at 1,100 GW.
To put it in perspective, some 130 GW of additional solar and wind power will be installed by 2020, equal to France’s total renewable power generation capacity, said Frank Yu, principal consultant at Wood Mackenzie.
“This shows the government is keeping its promise in curbing supplies of coal power,” Yu said.
The leader of China’s Communist Party lectured the American president-elect on Tuesday about the virtues of globalization, free trade and even green energy — a sign of just how much international politics has changed.
Chinese President Xi Jinping didn’t need to mention Donald Trump during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — several of his pointed remarks appeared unequivocally aimed at him.
With Trump defining his presidential campaign with his outspoken criticism of trade and immigration, the Chinese president appeared to be projecting his country as the world’s new bastion of global capitalism.
“Pursuing protectionism is just like locking oneself in a dark room — while wind and rain may be kept outside, so are light and air,” Xi told the audience, the first address by a Chinese leader at the annual event.
Xi then appeared to turn his pulpit to Trump’s stance on to global warming.
Trump has rejected the idea that humans are responsible for climate change, going against the consensus supported by the overwhelming majority of scientists.
He has called it a “hoax” several times, and even suggested in a 2012 tweet that it was a conspiracy invented by the Chinese, something he later said was a joke.
During his campaign, he threatened to pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which was signed by almost 200 nations and aims to help the shift to renewable energy.
As the world’s worst polluter since 2006, China has been far from blameless.
But it is also the leading producer in renewable energy sources, a move driven by financial pragmatism more than than global altruism, and it won plaudits last September after signing the Paris Agreement alongside the U.S.
In another apparent broadside at Trump, Xi said Tuesday that “all signatories should stick to it instead of walking away from it, as this is a responsibility we must assume for future generations.”
Taking the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday, Chinese president Xi Jingping had a message for President-elect Donald Trump: Don’t renege on the United States’ international promises, including the Paris climate agreement.
“The Paris agreement is a hard-won achievement… all signatories should stick to it rather than walk away,” Jingping said. “It is important to protect the environment while pursuing economic and social progress — to achieve harmony between man and nature, and harmony between man society.”
In what’s been described as a rare commentary on foreign elections, Xie Zhenhua, China’s special representative for climate change, told reporters U.S. progress will be jeopardized if it moves away from the historic climate agreement set to kick in Friday.
In May, Trump promised to cancel the Paris climate agreement during his first speech on energy policies, as he vowed to push for more drilling and fewer regulations. But China, now a leader in renewable energy that’s aggressively cutting greenhouse gas pollution, seems at odds with Trump’s take on the Paris agreement.
“I believe a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends,” Xie said according to Reuters after being asked how China might work with a Trump administration on climate change.