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.

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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.”

María Paula Rubiano A.

Smog clouds

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The Smog

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