Xi Jinping withdrew from declaration of coal consumption in China!

Chinese president Xi Jinping image
Credit: Reuters

President Xi Jinping said Beijing would be in charge of coal-fired power production projects during the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April of last year. However, now Xi Jinping withdrew from declaration of coal consumption in China!

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Chinese president Xi Jinping image
Credit: WWF

The President Xi Jinping declaration

At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April of last year, President Xi Jinping vowed that Beijing would restrict coal-fired power production projects and limit the growth in coal consumption over the 14th Five-Year Plan, between 2021 and 2025.

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In addition to rigorously limiting the growth in coal consumption throughout the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021–2025) and phasing it down in the 15th Five-Year Plan period (2026–2030), he has stated that China will carefully restrict coal-fired power production projects.

President Xi Jinping withdraw from the declaration

The Chinese President is chewing on those comments this year, as China announced in April 2022 that it would increase its already world-record-holding output levels of coal by 300 million tonnes.

China should note that China’s five-year plans serve as the main guidelines for the country’s economic objectives, development initiatives, and broad changes during the next five years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping image
Credit: Climate Home News

However, China has been obliged to alter its stated policy towards coal and coal-fired power plants barely a year into the 14th Five-Year Plan, which Xi Jinping is thought to have defined.

Xi “personally made adjustments, approved the wording, and has put in a lot of effort on it” during the plan’s writing phase, according to Han Wenxiu, deputy chairman of the Office of the Central Finance and Economic Commission.

According to The Hong Kong Post, given this, it is inevitable to conclude that Xi is aware of the fact that he overestimated China’s capacity to shift away from coal in 2021. The environmental organization estimates that the additional capacity created in just over three months will equal 46% of the total increased capacity allowed in 2021.

Wu Jinghan, energy campaigner at Greenpeace statement

According to Wu Jinghan, a climate, and energy campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia’s Beijing office, the growth in coal is related to a new wave of rhetoric that emphasizes energy security.

“Instead of being a reliable source of electricity, coal security has become a code word.” Ironically, Wu observed, as The Hong Kong Post stated, “China’s energy crisis came partly because China relied on coal.” Despite this, the government has increased its discourse on “energy security.” The coal sector appears to be operating normally once again.

The Hong Kong Post

According to a story in The Hong Kong Post quoting Greenpeace’s Beijing office, China has approved the building of 8.63 gigatonnes (GW) of new coal-fired power plants between January and March 2022 to increase coal mining capacity this year.

Most of the world was shocked—and even happy—when China announced in September 2021 that it would no longer finance coal-fired power plants outside China.

Interested parties should understand the 14th Five-Year Plan, which outlines China’s growth plan through 2025, before interpreting that policy too broadly.

“This attitude of guaranteeing energy security has grown prevalent, trumping carbon neutrality,” said Li Shuo, a senior global policy consultant for Greenpeace.

Chinese banks are funding more than 70% of the world’s coal power facilities as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). What is notable here is that China asserts that the BRI increases environmental protection and encourages green growth, but in practice, none of this is genuine.

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