China to stop new coal abroad for greener BRI
24 Sep 2021


The joint effort of China and BRI participating countries in promoting green and low-carbon transition is a significant component of BRI green development. Since its establishment in April 2019, the BRI International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC) has focused on green and low-carbon development of BRI to carry out a series of activities. It has established 10 thematic partnerships (TPs), especially the TP on Global Climate Change Governance and Green Transformation, and the TP on Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency. BRIGC has also been following up on key topics such as green development of BRI projects, green and low-carbon transition in key BRI-covered areas, green investment and financing, as well as green development cases and best practices through policy dialogues and joint studies. Positive progress has been made.


The first highlight is the research on BRI Green Development Guidance for BRI Projects. In December 2019, BRIGC launched the Study on Green Development Guidance for BRI Projects (thereby referred to as the Guidance Project) with its Chinese and international partners. The Guidance Project investigates three major environmental objectives – pollution prevention, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity conservation, and proposes a classification system for BRI projects. Based on the international standards and general norms, the system lists coal-fired power projects as projects with strict regulatory requirements (i.e., "red projects"). The Phase 1 research output of the Guidance Project was formally released in December 2020 and received wide attention from China and abroad. The international media expressed their approval of the Guidance's classification of coal-fired power projects as "red projects" and believed that the Guidance could help stakeholders avoid high-risk projects. The Phase 2 study of the Guidance Project narrows down its scope to the transport infrastructure such as highway and railroad and prepares industry-level guidelines for the green development of projects. Related research output will be released this year. 


The second effort is a special research on the development trend of coal replacement policy in overseas investment. In February 2021, BRIGC's research team completed the special research report on the development trend of coal replacement policy in overseas investment. The report systematically reviews the recent policies related to the gradual withdrawal from coal-fired power by major developed countries, selected developing countries (coal power investment hotspots) and multilateral financial institutions around the world, and puts forward recommendations in consideration of the status and challenges in China's overseas energy investment. The report was submitted to the competent authorities and firmly underpinned the decision making on China's overseas coal-related investments. 


The third initiative is to promote green and low-carbon transition in key BRI-covered areas. Since 2019, BRIGC has conducted three phases of Special Policy Study on the Green BRI and 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development under the framework of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED). The study proposes the general principles, goals, and roadmaps for the comprehensive alignment between green Silk Road and the Sustainable Development Goals. The study in 2021 recommends phasing out overseas investments in coal mining and coal-fired power plants. BRIGC also released two issues of "BRI Green Development Case Studies Report" to share the best practices of Chinese enterprises in ecological and environmental protection. At the same time, with focus on key areas including the pathways for green transition in Southeast Asia, industry-specific guidelines for sustainable infrastructure, standards for green energy projects, and development of demonstration projects, BRIGC carries out policy dialogues, joint research, capacity building, and technical cooperation to jointly push forward green and low-carbon development of BRI with participating countries. 


The fourth endeavor is the policy study report on BRI carbon market feasibility study. The report reviews the status of socio-economic development and emissions and analyzes, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the feasibility of establishing carbon markets in major BRI countries and regions. The report's findings show that, with further improvements to China's national carbon market, not only China can accelerate the transition to green and low-carbon energy, BRI countries can also join hands with China to take the path of low-carbon development and launch carbon markets, starting with their own power sectors. The report also proposes to promote in-depth cooperation and exchanges on related topics among the BRI countries and accelerate the development of disciplines and talents related to climate change and carbon markets.


BRIGC has received extensive support from the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), Energy Foundation (EF), ClientEarth, World Resources Institute (WRI), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Tanoto Foundation, Climate Bonds Initiative, China Everbright Environment Group Limited, National Center for Climate Change Strategy and International Cooperation, Belt and Road Environmental Technology Exchange and Transfer Center (Shenzhen), Transport Planning and Research Institute of the Ministry of Transport, and other Chinese and international partners. President Xi Jinping's announcement has pointed out a new direction for international cooperation on addressing climate change and accelerating green transition. In the future, BRIGC will work closely with Chinese and international partners to build a closer green partnership, foster consensus and unite efforts for the high-quality development of BRI, and ensure the green BRI development. 
Source: BRI International Green Development Coalition