Claim: China CAN Lead on Climate, if they Cut Back on Coal Investment

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Greens are starting to comment that China’s climate “leadership” seems to involve enormous investments in coal. But history suggests there is a solution to China’s growing PR problem.

Can China actually lead on climate change?

By Sam Geall

China is in the “driving seat” when it comes to “international co-operation” on climate, said President Xi Jinping at a major political meeting in Beijing ahead of the UN-led climate talks in Bonn last week, the first annual meeting of the negotiations since President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the agreement.

So, is China ready to lead on climate? Not yet.

Fossil fuel use maintains social stability

To assume a real leadership role, China needs not only to fulfil its Paris pledges — no small challenge, given the difficulty of shifting its huge economy away from a reliance on coal-fired energy — but also to demonstrate a strategy for overseas investment that is consistent with its environmental ambitions.

On the international front, as China’s energy-intensive sectors slow, there is a risk that companies such as those producing the technology to mine and burn coal find an escape valve for overcapacity by exporting capital and technology outside China’s borders, driving carbon-intensive growth in other countries, particularly along the so-called “Belt and Road” trade routes in central, south and South-East Asia.

From 2000 to 2016, 66 per cent of power sector lending from Chinese banks went into coal projects, according to Boston University.

In Turkey, Chinese companies have signed agreements worth billions of dollars to construct coal-fired power stations.

In Pakistan, China has also approved a US$1.2 billion investment for coal mining in the Thar Desert and the construction of 660 megawatt coal-fired power generators.

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The solution is obvious.

In 2006, Al Gore’s PR people justified his $30,000 annual home electricity bill, his enormous personal carbon footprint, on the basis of all the green advocacy he performs and the carbon offsets he purchases.

If China splashes more money on purchasing carbon offsets and other green projects, and continues to vocally support the global climate movement, greens will in my opinion likely apply the same standards as they applied to Al Gore – they will likely judge that China has done enough to mitigate the harm caused by their coal investments.

88 thoughts on “Claim: China CAN Lead on Climate, if they Cut Back on Coal Investment

  1. I just purchased a few hundred dollars worth of carbon offsets from my wife. I doubt I’ll get my money’s worth but at least I can feel good about myself for a few days.

    • I read that as just purchased a few thousand dollars of crystallized carbon for my wife…

      Now THAT would be Carbon Capture.

      Wrap and H BOMB in graphite and have it rain diamonds.

  2. Sure, right after they free up internet censorship, reduce state owned industry overproduction, help deal with NK nukes, and release political prisoners. Until then try not to be a part of the problem by running more perception campaigns on progress for other purposes.

    • And consider state-owned [=Army-run] profit centres aimed at enriching Generals;
      Then, yes, agreed.

      Or is that A Greed?

      You decide.


  3. China is already leading on ‘Climate Matters’. They are showing how to produce power and electricity from Coal, cheaply and economically. By investing 66 percent of money in coal production for the power sector, Chinese banks are going ahead to secure future coal projects, Chinese residents will be well placed to grow economically and healthily, whatever happens to the weather and climate.

  4. Whatever the current government of the PRC is idiologically, they have shown no evidence of acting against their perceived self-interest. Their policy seems to be raising the living standards of their own residents in exchange for domestic acquiescence in leaving the Communist Party in power. Any real sacrifice to satisfy the green blob will only happen if it reinforces the rule of the current oligarchy, which is about as likely as Donald Trump becoming a Franciscan monk.

    • Tom H
      “which is about as likely as Donald Trump becoming a Franciscan monk.”

      That likely- oh Wow?!?

      Goodness – I must build that in to my stock picks.


  5. It seem to become a leader in climate change you first must ruin your economy, or purchase sufficient “indulgences” to placate the acolytes.

    Where’s martin Luther and his hammer?

    • Of course not–COPpers are looking for money!

      I wonder why they think China will have any extra money after US innovation and hard work makes their widgets less desirable?

      • saveenergy
        you suggest –
        “always about the cash.”

        Plus lots. – and send cash – or beer vouchers!



  6. As I recall, China instituted a ban on wind power, as it was “disrupting their grid.” Naturally unmentioned is China’s nuclear power program, the largest in the world. Currently they are building 22 reactors, have 33 operating, plan to build 211 more, for a total of 267 reactors, 2 1/2 times more than the U.S. They are also pushing ahead developing a small modular molten salt reactor. The money for the current build is roughly $110 billion, and will be more than a $trillion for those planned, plus the cost of the molten salt reactors when they are built.

  7. China can not free itself from coal for the time and even with the help of nuclear power plants. In China, not only is coal used as the basis for power generation, but almost every Chinese household north of the winter 15 degree isotherm uses coal as domestic fuel for heating. I do not know exactly how many households there are in China, but with a population estimated at half the population north of this isotherm, that’s roughly 680 million divided by 3 (ordinary Chinese family), even if you led aside the many single households, there are roughly 220 million households, most of which heat with coal. And this coal is burnt inefficiently and with the highest particulate matter. The smog in the cities comes for the most part from these private heaters.

    • It is the home heating coal that is the pollution source. No different than London 150 years ago. Steel and power plants can economicslly be cleaned up. Not households and apartment buildings.

      • My family switched from coal to gas between 1945 and 1950, I think.
        My slightly older sister and a cousin cleaned the coal room out and used it to play in.
        Extra coal was shoveled down a chute to under the house to a simple dougout basement.
        Some think the unlined rooms under these old houses allowed Radon to seep into living quarters.
        They base that theory on my behavior.
        Go figure.

      • My dad grew up in rural Iowa and he tells about how the snow would gradually turn grey if it didn’t snow for a couple of days. All from the coal fired heaters.

    • err no.
      We can have bad air in Beijing year round. On certain days ( like during party congress) the government will shut off the industrial grid ( ya my factory outside the city gets shut down for a few days ) and we get blue sky, like during APEC
      The worst days, yes, are in winter. The region is surounded by mountains, in winter slower air flow and stable air flows keep the smog from dispersing. But urban coal buring has been banned since 2012.

      Its a combination of Industry, cars and some home heating. Summer smog obviously not from home heating,duh

      finally, most of the answers you will see are from models or from short term collection excercises

    • I’m not sure what you mean by ‘private heaters’. As a resident of a city in China for the last 13 years, my experience is that the heating water for ALL apartments is supplied by a utility company. Every apartment block has gas, water, electricity, phone/internet AND heating water. In a city there is no use for coal at home.
      It’s quite possible that the hot water utility emits particulate matter.

        • Alex, you repeat the error that many city dwellers make: Thinking that their congested city living reflects fundamental truths about social and economic reality in the entire country.

          If President Trump’s election didn’t disabuse you of those notions, maybe you should spend some time living among the Deplorables.

          I am a broadly educated, technically proficient and high-end intellectual engaged in observing the human condition. You, my friend, appear to be a lightweight.

      • Dave
        I was seeking clarification from Hans-Georg.
        I have been to over 50 locations in China. I have stayed in the homes of my students and shared their life for a short time. Some homes were primitive and some were quite comfortable.
        I am an Australian ‘deplorable’.

        ‘I am a broadly educated, technically proficient and high-end intellectual engaged in observing the human condition.’
        I think you are quite an unpleasant person with delusions of grandeur.
        I would prefer that you don’t use the word ‘friend’ when you refer to me.

        • “I think you are quite an unpleasant person with delusions of grandeur.”

          Nasty stuff, Alex. Who would want you as a friend?

      • Sorry I wasn’t more explicit Alex. Almost half of China’s population today do not live in cities with apartments. They burn coal in their ‘private heaters’ to keep warm in their dwellings and that’s what the reference was.

  8. Hmm… So China can burn all the coal it wants to maintain social stability!! Just as long as they invest internationally in greenness things. Everybody else’s social stability can be sacrificed. And the greeness leadership thing? Oh yeah, supply the cashflow that was cutoff by the US to the Gang Green! Oh, and the planet? Don’t worry, with the cash restored we can work miracles.

    • Just as long as they invest internationally in greenness things.
      Actually they are investing in all sorts of non-green things also. Whatever fits the long term investment portfolio. Example: It was reported in May, 2017, that Pakistan will get $15 billion from Chinese investors over the next 15 years to construct about a dozen coal-fired power plants.
      You can search and find other investments.

  9. To assume a real leadership role, China needs not only to fulfil its Paris pledges“. There are no Paris pledges for China to fulfil. All the pledges were made by others. China only pledged to review its “carbon” after 2030.

    • Almost perfectly stated, Mike Jonas.
      China promised to continue expanding their coal use and coal plants until 2030; after which, they’ll review their needs.

      “China needs not only to fulfil its Paris pledges — no small challenge, given the difficulty of shifting its huge economy away from a reliance on coal-fired energy”

      It appears that yet another press release news hound has not bothered to read the documents he writes about.
      Ignorance multiplied through misinformation fed to his readers.

      No wonder, they’re delusional.

    • ” China only pledged to review its “carbon” after 2030.”
      No. China pledged to peak CO2 emissions by 2030 (with best efforts to bring forward the date).

    • They also say they will have 20% “renewables” by then (or something like that)

      But with hydro, aren’t they already over that amount ?

      • The point was, that as well as promising to keep increasing CO2 emissions until 2030ish,

        .. they also don’t need to do anything in the way of wind/solar to meet 20% “renewables” for electricity.

      • well, i guess their electricity production (already 1.5x USA’s) is bound to increase by 2030, so they may need a few more renewable to stay on target. But they have enough hydro power ramping up to do just that, so they surely don’t need wind/solar, except for the show and a way to stay in the industry (they can afford).

      • No-one really knows anything you see on renewable generation pre-2016 is just fake made up data. Each state and territory monitored it’s own generation and with corruption and incompetence most of the numbers are just fabrication. In 2015 the grid was put under new regulation via “Decree No. 9: Several Guiding Principles of Furthering the Reform of the Electricity Market”. Inter-province electricity exchanges was encouraged and each province utility had monitoring and reporting nodes fed to a federal control.

        The short story is only data from 2016 is reliable and most data out there shows a sudden drop from 2015 to 2016 China power generation as the numbers swapped to real data. I would also avoid believing to much about any power generation data pre 2016.

  10. St Gore bought his ‘offsets’ from his own ‘offset’ business. So yes China could this approach , indeed you could say they already ‘claim much and nothing’

  11. Western enviro-fascists are useful idiots to the Chinese. For these ilk it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s what you say and purport to believe. The correct intentions are all that matters. We all see this on a daily basis.
    The Chinese played them for fools, which was very obvious to all of us who did not drink the kool-aid, but leftists here are blind. They still want to believe that China is on their side. They will rally around anyone anti-USA and anti-capitalist, even if that means they have to cozy up to oppressive communist and muslim dictatorships.

    • It is not “even if” (that means they have to cozy up to oppressive communist and muslim dictatorships). Oppression and dictatorship is their goal, so it makes perfect sense they get along ONLY with such countryies, while waging war at home against free speech and free ownership of weapons, and only applauding coercitive action against citizen (through plain lies, fake news, taxes, or whatever)

  12. At what point does being a ‘leader’ mean NOT walking in a procession wearing the Emperor’s new clothes?

  13. If the climate movement is depending on a non annex country with no UNFCCC emission reduction obligations for “leadership” they are in deeper [scatalogical reference snipped] than outward appearances may indicate. Besides why do international agreements among adults need a cheerleader?

    China is only interested in reducing pollution in China.
    The green movement is a gift to them which they’re exploiting increasingly from every angle.
    The communist party encourages research and engagement with the AGW industry (internally and externally) primarily as leverage and cover for their greater plan of energy dominance.
    No Chinese leader gives a second thought to CO2 according to our business associates in China.
    In Australia we (our home & business) now pay 100% of our electricity to the Chinese Communist State!
    We recently changed to Pacific Hydro (Melbourne) because no other ‘Australian retailer’ would quote our forth-coming consumption for two new machines.
    We almost gave up and shipped the machines to China (where we’d have paid US 4.8c/kWh).
    Still here we’ll be paying much more but at least our intellectual property won’t be stolen quickly by Chinese ‘entrepreneurs’.
    Pacific Hydro (Melbourne):
    100% China state owned via State Power Investment Corporation (SPIC).
    AusNet Services:
    There’s a distribution component to our electricity bill and most of that money also goes to Asia . . .
    19.9% owned by State Grid of China.
    31.1% owned by Singapore Power.
    49% publicly owned.
    Australia is run by vested interests via political donations and the balance is compromised by political expediency mainly arising from left-wing ideology and fraudulent science.

  15. So China will fund green projects in the West but they will insist on the West protecting those projects from low cost energy sources that they will continue to build in their land.

    So a Chinese aluminium smelter will get 5 cent/Kwh coal fired electricity and we will voluntarily make our power to our Aluminium smelters 15 cents/Kwh to protect their funding of a wind farm in our country which will be unneeded once the smelter in our land closes.
    And we insisted on this didn’t we.

    Are the Chinese the smartest people on earth or are we the stupidest?

    • The moment President Obama began leading from behind, China blossomed.

      It will be hard to dig out of the investment hole in relation to the Chinese inroads in the developing countries. Western bankers refuse to fund realistic Third World infrastructure.

      China is becoming the post-WWII America, by default.

    • “children are not born stupid, they are born ignorant, but fortunately we have education to turn them stupid.”
      No need of 1984 chemical brew to turn people stupid. Just ensure that only lefties are allowed to teach to the mass, and you get the same results.
      But don’t worry, this applies to China, too.
      Chinese leaders just have better control of their people by enriching them, while Western leaders (who are not politicians, but media) have better control by making them poorer.

  16. Pretending CO2 is pollution is NOT ‘leading on climate’.
    Leading requires acknowledging the facts and speaking the truth.

  17. This whole “China as a Climate Leader” is a sick joke. Anyone can see from the ‘Paris Accord’ that they made no commitment to reduce CO2 and will reconsider their position in 2030. They may be making “investments”, ie spending money, in clean energy but it doesn’t result in net CO2 reduction. Not that fossil fuel burning CO2 reduction can/will measurably reduce global temperature but that’s the narrative they are pushing on everyone else. The world needs to wake up to this scam being orchestrated by the UN for the sole purpose of “wealth redistribution” and nothing more.

  18. TheirABC is FakeNews.

    One example of a big lie they push is how big a task it is for China to “transition” to “clean energy” to meet its “Paris commitments.”

    In fact, China committed to increase their 2015 or 2016 CO2 output by a FURTHER <=145% or less by 2030. They just expressed it more cleverly so that the hapless Obama fell for it.

    Not only is it trivially easy to meet their commitments – it would be impossible NOT to. Even if the poured a gallon of petrol into every open cut coal mine and set each on fire tomorrow they couldn’t do it.

  19. The hedge/investment Fund Managers ‘managing’ pension and public/private wealth (mainly US but some UK and France) run the UN green agenda from the back room.
    The UN in turn tells/threatens/coerces Western Governments to fall into line (many willingly) and so the green energy subsidy scam carries on unimpeded.
    CHINA and INDIA would not be coerced.
    The USA is a mixed bag; out of danger for now thanks to Trump & Co.
    Our associates in China just can’t believe what’s going on in the West.
    Seriously they believe they can ‘take over the World’ on the back of this one.
    From what we know of Chinese planning and machinations you ain’t seen nothing yet.
    Seriously invest in Coal and start buying those depressed Uranium shares/stocks (for your kids).
    The Fund Managers will be long gone with our money when the s**t hits the fan.
    They know it has about a decade or two to run . . .

      • Tigers in India are heading for extinction because there isn’t enough room for both them and the growing human population and development, griff. Your ‘green’ energy sources land requirements will dry up any remaining living space they might have faster than you can imagine- and you can’t seem to imagine much.

      • You wish it were vapourware. It is just basic money-laundering & corruption scheme, paying twice the worth of a thing out of the real owner pocket (here: taxpayer) to some crook, who return the favor to the man making the deal (minister). The worse the deal, the better for the minister — no private company would engage it’s money in this, so this is always a minister doing. Private company WILL accept (and even prompt) the minister deal, and return him a share; that’s why the deal has to be as bad as possible, so has to make the profit and shares bigger for everyone.
        Everyone but average Joe, of course, but who cares? Not Griff, we know he LONGS for electricity to be as expensive as possible.
        India is no better in this respect that USA

        Notice Griff always produce “GW” (power) figures, never “TWh” or Toe (energy). Does he even know why? I bet he doesn’t.

      • Griff for once you understated renewables the number is actually better than that it will be closer to 250GW by 2022 from the official figures. The increased uptake is because they are offering 10-year tax exemption for solar energy projects, successful wind energy auctions and restarted stalled hydro power projects.

        Now the bad news the power distribution network fiasco. There may be enough power available and there may be a customer willing to pay for the power but there is no distribution. The state distribution companies run at annual losses as they never pass the cost of their operations to the consumer. The larger the grid gets the more debt and taxpayer dollars it takes to prop it up. While you have stellar growth it isn’t a problem but in low growth it buries you.

        Indian Government in 2015 created Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY), under which the State governments would take over 75 per cent of the distribution companies’ debt. This saved the saved the state distribution companies from collapse but it will need to do this again by 2022 to distribute the available power.

        UDAY was designed as a short term fix and currently even if all that power is available it will not be able to be used and India will have saddled itself with a massive public and increasing debt.

        In short it is a trainwreck looking for a place to happen and should make good popcorn viewing by 2022.

      • Griff I’m not claiming solar and wind aren’t real, heavily invested and here to stay.
        Greed and ignorance introduced renewables to the game too early.
        Renewables are a thousand years premature.
        There’s no need for solar unless it’s to supply a poor and/or remote location.
        I’m claiming the Fund Managers (in particular) have distorted the market and their investment decisions have hurt us (not them).
        China is increasingly using the AWG industry to further its ambitions.

    • Greens can’t control China so they sequester criticism (the flaw in their green scam) by promoting the good bits including much Chinese propaganda.
      Every Chinese leader understand this.
      Make no mistake China is making a killing from green products as well as taking over energy and the World’s manufacturing base (slowly but surely).
      Cheap labour can only do so much.
      Cheap energy has to do the rest for China.
      The West will be heavily reliant on quality, tyranny of distance and innovation; the crumbs.
      China will have it done inside 200-years.
      Oh and by the way, China will never attack anyone.
      But they like to see the West spending billions on worrying about them.
      China like funding things as well . . .

    • Yeah I never got the whole Green love affair with China. My guess is many are just guilt tripping, we feel so bad about a poor country while I drive my BMW and eat my goat cheese.

  20. The private heating problem is the biggest problem regarding smog in China’s cities. And that is due to the many coal heating systems. China has very few small heating plants. Possibly high-rise buildings are heated with small power stations, but are also based on outdated coal boilers.

    “Millions of cities need different heating concepts – and it is still unclear with which other fuel the most populous country in the world should get its flats affordable.”–113498160.html

    There is nothing of electric heaters or the like. China’s coal boilers are outdated through and through, just like ours in the 60s. However present in a staggering amount. In the 50s there were many wood heaters in Central Europe and England. That is almost absent in northern China, for lack of wood. China’s forests are in southern China. There is a lot of hot air, which China produces in terms of climate protection. Because there is not only the smog, but useless wasted heat, which comes from outdated private coal heaters.

    • Pollution in China is actually hard to get real facts on it’s a competition between heating and industries and probably varies from city to city. We know Beijing’s is mainly Industrial because of the shutdown they did for the olympics. We know China’s national environmental monitoring center reports Beijing’s air as slightly polluted, the U.S. Embassy, will measure it as “hazardous” with very high numbers.

      There is just no way to know what the real pollution numbers are in China and you can get into trouble even discussing the problem in public. There have been a number of high profile interventions on reporters, organizations and individuals putting China in a bad light.

      There is possibly some hope in that it was at least discussed at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China

      So I guess at least admitting they have nothing but “fake emissions data” is a start.

  21. “Pollution in China is actually hard to get real facts on it’s a competition between heating and industries and probably varies from city to city. We know Beijing’s is mainly Industrial because of the shutdown they did for the olympics.”
    It is actually very sad that our mainstream media have managed to distort key facts. First, Beijing has not only reduced the operation of industrial plants, but also the operation of stoves, whether private or industrial. Furthermore, in Beijing no cars, except the “guests”, the nomenklatura and the army were moved. In addition, the amount of smog in the Beijing area is lowest in July and August, the months with the highest rainfall. And rain washes out the smog. The Chinese did one more thing by moving in with an army of green-robed weathersoldiers of 32,000 men whose sole job was to manipulate the weather. No one knows if this worked. In any case, China and Russia have the most experience in local weather manipulation worldwide.

    • Good points and you can see why it’s so hard for outside parties to understand it and we get these superficial results.

  22. “but also to demonstrate a strategy for overseas investment that is consistent with its environmental ambitions.”

    Have they ever matched their actions with their “environmental ambitions”?

  23. Does anyone else think that Chinese and Russian “leaders” must be laughing their asses off at the credulity of American thought leaders and leftist crybaby climate journalists?

    China IS meeting all their Paris Agreement commitments. All of them. Because they don’t have to do JACK SQUAT until 2030. They can build as many coal plants as they want and still be meeting their commitments. And they can lord this superiority over us as they’re flooding American markets with cheap solar panels because they make money selling them to us, not because they believe in solar power. And yet our dumb ass lefties keep saying they’re the “leading the world” in renewables and believing that nation is a model to be followed, and that what Donald Trump is bravely trying to do in facing down the fear mongering BS is not leadership.

    Meanwhile, Russia is promoting and financing many of the anti-fracking protests around the world so THEIR natural gas can be sold at a higher price! Wake up, all you dumb-ass lefties. Try to see the world as it is, not as you want it to be while you’re under the influence of magical unicorn farts.

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