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China Building 300 New Coal Power Plants Around The World

April 30, 2019

By Paul Homewood


China is building 300 new coal power stations around the world, according to NPR(National Public Radio), who I gather are the US equivalent of the BBC:


China, known as the world’s biggest polluter, has been taking dramatic steps to clean up and fight climate change.

So why is it also building hundreds of coal-fired power plants in other countries?

President Xi Jinping hosted the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing over the weekend, promoting his signature foreign policy of building massive infrastructure and trade links across several continents.

The forum, attended by leaders and delegates of nearly 40 countries, came amid growing criticism of China’s projects, including their effect on the environment.

Xi took the highly unusual step, for him, of meeting with international journalists, during which he repeated the slogan that he is committed to "open, clean and green development."

Yet China’s overseas ventures include hundreds of electric power plants that burn coal, which is a significant emitter of the carbon scientifically linked to climate change. Edward Cunningham, a specialist on China and its energy markets at Harvard University, tells NPR that China is building or planning more than 300 coal plants in places as widely spread as Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines.

Days before the forum with its "clean and green" theme, the latest Chinese-built coal plant opened in Pakistan.

The plants are significant investments at a time when most nations of the world, including China, have committed to fighting climate change. "When you put money down and put steel into the ground for a coal-fired power plant," says Cunningham, "it’s a 40- or 50-year commitment."In one sense, China’s push for coal is not surprising: China knows how to build coal plants. It is the world’s largest coal consumer, drawing more than 70 percent of its electricity from coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

But facing overwhelming pollution levels, China has restrained the growth of its coal industry — at home.

For many years, four huge electric power plants burned coal within the capital city, Beijing, contributing to the city’s choking smog. But within the past four years, all four stopped burning coal.

The naivety of most of the media never ceases to surprise me!

Why they believe every word Xi Jinping says amazes me, especially when few people trust western politicians to tell the truth.

The NPR have also fallen for the “closing coal plants in Beijing” trick. Despite shutting old plants like these, because of real pollution, new plants are more than replacing lost output.


BP Energy Review

NPR then go on to repeat the usual nonsense about how coal power will soon become uncompetitive against renewables.

But if they are nothing else, the Chinese government are realists.

They have the expertise to build coal power plants, they have the coal to supply them, and above all they have the finance.

Constructing coal plants as part of its Belt and Road strategy makes perfectly good business sense to China, as well as building influence with its client states.

As for the climate? Well, we know the answer to that!

  1. jack broughton permalink
    April 30, 2019 7:49 pm

    “As for the climate? Well, we know the answer to that!”. Apparently the Chinese, Russians and Americans do, possibly the Germans too, not the UK though.

    We are about to tighten the CCA commitments, as we will thus set an example for the rest of the world by reducing our piddling CO2 emissions further at great cost and they will all follow!!!

    An interesting snippet on Radio today, apparently Maersk are looking to be carbon neutral by 2040. They have no idea how they will replace the massive oil-based power required by tankers but hope to fine one. Some university-study has “discovered” that sailing slower could halve the fuel burn: the school-child error is that they would need twice as many ships…… What has happened to our academics?

    • April 30, 2019 7:56 pm

      I too heard the item on Radio 4 programme PM. The propaganda is going on every day this week.

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        April 30, 2019 10:06 pm

        They’re running scared, Phillip. The cold is coming.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      April 30, 2019 10:09 pm

      I heard that, Jack. My radio survived!
      I just wish that Evan Davis was not there. Eddie Maier was so much better.
      Plus: Is oil a fossil fuel?

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        May 1, 2019 9:32 am

        Yes, oil is a fossil fuel.

      • May 2, 2019 10:43 am

        Especially the stuff seeping up from the sea bed of the Gulf of Mexico

  2. April 30, 2019 8:02 pm

    Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  3. Robin Guenier permalink
    April 30, 2019 8:17 pm

    This story has also been covered by two other ‘green’ news publications: the Guardian and Climate Change News: and

    Any prospect I wonder of them beginning to think that China is perhaps not all that bothered about CO2 emissions?

  4. TinyCO2 permalink
    April 30, 2019 9:12 pm

    This country and the US have an odd, my enemy’s enemy is my friend thing going on. So since their enemy is always their own government, their friends must be Russia and China. Totally illogical.

  5. Harry Passfield permalink
    April 30, 2019 10:18 pm

    It seems to me that this is colonialism. I am caught between the need to offer third-world countries cheap and available energy and the fact that the Chinese are doing it and not us. But of course, if the UK was doing it it would be disparaged: when the Chinese do it nobody bats an eyelid.

  6. George L permalink
    May 1, 2019 1:06 am

    Why? Because they know all those solar panels they sell are for suckers.

  7. May 1, 2019 8:03 am

    The week before my work sent me to Beijing in 2012 it was hit by a flash flood and the week after I left smog covered the city for a week. The flooding was a rare event but the smog is a regular problem with to much industry near the capital and too many cars.
    The problem is getting worse as the city is growing and more people are moving to the big city’s.
    This is the real climate pollution problem but it has nothing to do with global warming.
    I was a machinist before I worked as a computer programmer and I often think how many people travel to work only to sit behind a computer all day and the travel home.
    They could work from home mostly occasionally travelling to work.
    More public transport and electric cars would help also.
    But either the heavy industry needs to move away from the city or the people need to move away from the heavy industry.
    My Grandfather worked in the North Wales coal mines and my father worked in the South Wales coal mines when he was young before becoming an aircraft engineer. My brother in law worked in the coal mines. I was offered a job in the coal mines myself but declined due to suffering from claustrophobia. I have been down the Big Pit as a tourist.
    Coal mining is a very hard job and the coal dust has bad health effects on the workers.
    I think it is one job that robots should do rather than people.

    • dave permalink
      May 1, 2019 1:42 pm

      “…job that robots should do…”

      Robots already do most of the job. The USA produces 750 million short tonnes a year with only 50,000 human miners.

  8. manicbeancounter permalink
    May 1, 2019 10:44 am

    China’s policy of pursuing both coal and renewables is only inconsistent in terms of trying to reduce CO2 emissions, a game that it must play diplomatically. But in terms of wanting to maintain high levels of economic growth, for energy security and to become a dominant economic power it is quite consistent.
    One concern for China is that it will exhaust its proven reserves in 39 years. Costs of production will rise well before that. India has 136 years of reserves, Australia 301 years, US 357 years and Russia 397 years. (BP Energy Outlook data 2018). To maintain its current coal usage China will have to increase its coal imports. Net imports have been increasing in the past few years.
    Also, investing overseas and selling solutions rather than manufactures, is part of becoming a richer nation. China is the world leader in building low-cost coal-fired power stations.

  9. manicbeancounter permalink
    May 1, 2019 11:54 am

    When looking at coal production and consumption it is worth distinguishing between metallurgical (or coking) and thermal coal. Coking coal is a higher grade and used in the steel industry. It comprises about one seventh of total production both globally and in China.
    According to the Australian “Resources and Energy Quarterly March 2019” Figure 1.10, metallurgical coal exports are forecast to be A$43.1b in 2018-19, as against A$26.7b for thermal coal. This is at average prices of A$202 and A$101 per tonne respectively. (13MB pdf)

    As an aside, on page 15 of the Australian Report, China’s GDP is expected to be 16.0% of global output, against 15.9% for the Euro Area. This is the first time China’s GDP will be larger.

  10. George Lawson permalink
    May 1, 2019 12:14 pm

    Why doesn’t Xi and Putin have the courage to say that global warming is a non-existent hoax, and follow the courageous stand of Mr Trump by pulling out of the Paris agreement, an agreement which they clearly do not support in practice, but feel it is politically beneficial for them to be seen to do so? If they did that they would be party to saving the world from one of the greatest and disastrous waste of resources in human history leading to the World becoming a far better place than where it is going at the moment?

    • Robin Guenier permalink
      May 1, 2019 12:37 pm

      Because most countries are not really concerned about the issue and, if the US is excluded, only Western Europe and a few anglophone countries are taking action and, in the process weakening their economies; I suspect Xi and Putin are quite pleased to see this happening. No doubt they’re disappointed that Trump is pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement and hope the Democrats will eventually prevail and cause the US to follow Western Europe’s example.

    • sarastro92 permalink
      May 2, 2019 12:22 am

      When your enemy wants to commit suicide, there’s no obligation to stop him.

  11. May 2, 2019 10:55 am

    Check out this useful interactive map, you can filter for individual countries with a slider from 2000

    Check out China and India and then check out how the UK is plunged into darkness. From 2000 to 2018, China increases by almost 400 %, India by almost 260%, both have more planned. The rest of Asia is following and Chines influence in Africa can also be seen.

    • jack broughton permalink
      May 5, 2019 8:26 pm

      Fascinating map and very instructive too, Dennis. The “Carbon Brief” site also shows just how much money these organisations like Carbon Brief have that they can produce the massive and glossy brainwashing that they do: massive man-hours investment needed.

      It seems that their target audience is the press and political advisors who thirst for any doom story that appears convincing. But who is bank-rolling them??

  12. Leevi Kirsimäe permalink
    May 9, 2019 10:14 pm

    in Estonia is taking place eager fighting against global warming just right now, even schoolkids are having street demonstrations ….

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