Claim: China’s Covid-19 recovery is not green enough

Xi Jinping

Xi Jinping

In September, the Chinese province of Hubei – where the first outbreak of Covid-19 occurred – announced 90 billion yuan (about US$14 billion) of investment in the coal, electricity, oil and gas sectors over the next three years.

Provincial bosses described the move as intended to “promote the post-pandemic recovery and high-quality development”. In October, work started in Guizhou on a 5.6-billion-yuan coal power plant, which planning documents say will create about 5,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Because of Covid-19 China’s carbon emissions dropped 11% in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year. But emissions grew in the second quarter, up 5.4% year-on-year in May as the economy recovered.

That trend continued after June. An earlier analysis by China Dialogue found that investment in traditional infrastructure was driving second quarter GDP growth – and creating emissions concerns.

Jorrit Gosens and Frank Jotzo of the Australian National University have said China’s recovery plan is no “Green New Deal”. Although this is the first year China has not set a target for economic growth – indicating it will not, as it has in the past, pursue growth at any environmental cost – funding is still flowing to fossil fuels, while there is little support for renewable energy to report.

Lauri Myllyvirta, chief analyst with the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, has said that eight major energy-producing and consuming provinces in East China are planning to invest trillions in fossil fuels – three times as much as in low-carbon energy.

“The ‘major project lists’ continue the policies and investment patterns of previous years,” Myllyvirta told China Dialogue. “These patterns are far from green – energy sector investment is still dominated by fossil fuel projects.”

Its almost like most politicians in China don’t care about CO2.

No doubt Xi Jinping will soon set things straight, by ensuring regional Chinese governments re-align their spending priorities with the climate plans Xi Jinping recently announced.

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Categories: Health & Environment

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