Chinese president Xi Jinping announced at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) that Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects “must be green and sustainable”. Strong statement of intent, but the country has earmarked nearly $36 billion for up to 102 GW of new coal power across 23 recipient nations. Despite a majority of BRI receiving countries favoring renewable energy, two new coal plants have also opened in Pakistan and Vietnam and there’s more in the pipeline.
Yet, it is developments in the west that could unravel international climate action, since Global Energy Monitor has warned that 51% of the world’s 302 new fossil fuel pipelines could come up in North America alone. If built, most of them would carry natural gas from Texas to America’s heartlands, and could release over 500 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every single year, for the next 40 to 50 years.