China confirms it will cease building new coal-fired power projects abroad

Xi Jinping says China will stop building coal plants overseas. This almost completely ends the international finance of coal in a single sentence.

Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed the general debate of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (via video conference) on September 21, 2021.

In keeping with China’s long-held approach of working through the established UN international system, the President proposed a Global Development Initiative, calling for bolstering confidence and jointly addressing global threats and challenges to build a better world for all.

As part of his speech, President Xi confirmed that China would no longer build coal-fired power projects overseas. This move had already been foreshadowed in China’s decision not to fund major a growing number of coal related Belt & Road Initiative projects in a range of countries. See links at end of this article. The attached graphic shows that the decline in BRI coal projects over the past 6 years.

In his speech to the the UN General Assembly, under the heading ‘Staying committed to harmony between man and nature‘, Xi said:

“We need to improve global environmental governance, actively respond to climate change and create a community of life for man and nature. We need to accelerate transition to a green and low-carbon economy and achieve green recovery and development. China will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. This requires tremendous hard work, and we will make every effort to meet these goals. 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.

Below we publish an extract China’s proposed Global Development Initiative. The full text of Xi Jinping’s statement to the 76th session of the UN General Assembly is available as an attachment at this link –


[Extract from Xi Jinping’s statement]

Development holds the key to people’s well-being,” Xi said, adding that countries need to work together to steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth.

He made a six-pronged Global Development Initiative, including staying committed to development as a priority, staying committed to a people-centered approach, staying committed to benefits for all, staying committed to innovation-driven development, staying committed to harmony between man and nature and staying committed to results-oriented actions.

“We need to increase input in development, advance on a priority basis cooperation on poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 response and vaccines, development financing, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy and connectivity, among other areas, and accelerate implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, so as to build a global community of development with a shared future,” he said.

To support developing countries in responding to COVID-19 and promoting economic and social recovery, China has pledged an additional three billion US dollars of international assistance in the next three years.

China will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad, he said, pledging that the country will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy.

“This is another remarkable step taken by China on its own initiative to cope with the global climate change, as Xi earlier announced China’s pledge to strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060,” said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.

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