Power move: China's pulling the plug on financing overseas coal plants will be welcome news to the UN's Secy. General's passionate attempts to wean countries off of fossil fuels | Photo: Japan Times

China commits to stop building coal projects abroad

Chinese president Xi Jinping announced his country will not build any new coal-fired power projects abroad. Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Jinping also committed to supporting other poorer countries in developing green and low-carbon energy. How the country plans to do this remains unclear. The announcement, however, is significant because China is currently funding coal projects in countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). While the BRI has funded many projects related to coal and transport in various countries, it has significantly not funded any projects in the first half of 2021.  

EU-US commit to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030; seven other countries join pledge

Seven countries joined the US and EU to commit to cutting their methane emissions by 30% by 2030. The countries are joining the pledge made by the EU and US this past week to slash these emissions coming from farming, abandoned coal mines, and oil and gas operations. While methane’s presence in the atmosphere is short-lived (around nine years), it impacts warming 84 times more than CO2 over a two-decade period. The countries to join the EU and US include UK, Indonesia, Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Ghana and Iraq. According to the White House, these countries make up one-fifth of global methane emissions.  

Developed nations must maintain transparency on climate finance, tech transfer: India’s environment minister 

In a closed-door meeting convened by the UN, India’s environment minister Bhupendra Yadav urged developed countries to maintain transparency on the issue of climate finance and technology transfer. The informal meeting on the 1.5°C climate goal also included UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and UK prime minister Boris Johnson. 

Yadav cited the recent IPCC report as well as the UN Synthesis report, both of which highlighted how developed nations have emitted more than their estimated allowances and should therefore lead the action on mitigation and providing financial assistance to their developing counterparts. Yadav urged richer nations to fulfil their promise of providing $100 billion per year in climate finance that was made in 2009 and transfer green technologies to poorer nations at a low cost, according to a statement by the environment ministry.  

US, EU up their contributions to $100 billion a year climate finance pledge

In a boost to the unfulfilled $100 billion pledge made by G7 countries in 2009, US president Joe Biden announced this week the US will contribute more than $11 billion in climate aid annually by 2024 to developing countries vulnerable to climate change. This is double the $5.7 billion the US had previously committed to under the Obama administration. Biden, however, did not specify how he would convince the US Congress to increase the aid amount. The EU also committed an additional $5 billion by 2027 in climate aid for vulnerable countries.

While these amounts will definitely get the G7 countries closer to fulfilling their $100 billion climate finance pledge, they will still fall short. Prior to the EU’s and Biden’s announcement, the promise was falling short by $20 billion. Progress has been slow on this front, with OECD figures showing only a 2% increase in climate finance from 2018 to 2019. In 2019, rich countries mobilised $79.6 billion, but much of it was in the form of loans, and not grants, the OECD found. 

Kerry urges India to upgrade its climate ambitions

While on a short visit to India this month, US climate envoy John Kerry urged the Union government to consider announcing a 450 GW by 2030 renewable energy target as part of the country’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) at the COP26 this year. Kerry reasoned that could potentially put India’s NDC on track to limit warming to 1.5°C. 

The two countries also launched the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD), which aims to attract investment and technology in clean energy projects.  

About The Author