It’s Wednesday, September 22, and China is done building coal-fired power plants abroad.
China, the world’s largest financier of foreign coal projects, announced on Tuesday that it will stop building new coal-fired power plants abroad.
“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 Chinese President Xi Jinping during the United Nations’ General Assembly.
The announcement is a milestone in the fight against climate change. China is indisputably the world’s biggest user of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. Last year, half of the world’s coal used for electricity was burned in China, according to a report by the research group Ember. The country has poured around $51.6 billion dollars into building coal-fired power plants in more than a dozen countries, according to Boston University’s Global Development Policy Center. Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Vietnam are among the countries that have partnered with China to build new coal projects.
World leaders and climate and energy experts cautiously praised the announcement, pointing out that it doesn’t address China’s domestic use of coal. “This is an important step by the world’s biggest provider of overseas coal finance,” said Simon Steill, the environment minister of Grenada, according to the New York Times. “We look forward to seeing commensurate action domestically on coal.”
Last month, satellites caught a massive methane plume leaking from Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest city, and researchers say it likely didn’t come from any single source. The cloud first seen on August 6 had an emissions rate of roughly 126 metric tons of methane an hour — the equivalent of the annual emissions of 6,200 cars in the U.K. Methane has 86 times the warming impact of carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere.
Solar power is hitting roadblocks in Minnesota. There are currently more than 300 stalled solar projects in the state due to delays by Xcel Energy in connecting community solar and rooftop panels to its electrical grid. An analysis by the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association found that it would take nearly 260 years for Xcel to clear the backlog at its current pace.
A lawsuit by Greenpeace claiming that Walmart deceived its customers by marketing non-recyclable plastics as recyclable was dismissed by a federal judge this week. The environmental group accused the retail giant of exploiting the public’s desire to use more environmentally friendly materials without actually changing its practices.