Sep 21, 2021 - Energy & Environment

China vows end to building coal-fired power plants abroad

Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Mary Altaffer/Pool/Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping told the UN General Assembly Tuesday that his country "will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad" and plans to boost support for clean energy in developing nations.

Why it matters: The pledge, if maintained, would mark a breakthrough in efforts to transition global power away from the most carbon-emitting fuel.

  • Nations, including the U.S., have been urging China — historically a key source of coal-plant finance — to make such a commitment.
  • Xi's pledge on coal financing comes just weeks before a critical UN climate summit. However, his remarks did not provide any details on the commitment or its implementation timeline.

Yes, but: China is by far the world's largest coal producer and consumer, and it's still building new coal-fired power generation domestically.

Xi reiterated China's pledge to have its greenhouse gas emissions peak before 2030 and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060, but he did not offer strengthened domestic commitments.

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