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Chinese Overseas Investments in Fossil Fuel 100x bigger than Renewables Since Paris

By September 5, 2018 No Comments

Background: President Xi Jinping has just announced an additional $60 billion in Chinese investment across Africa over the next 3 years. He also did the same in 2015, at the last Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (Focac).

Why this is important: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said that this investment announcement shows that “China and Africa can cooperate with peaceful, durable and equitable progress to benefit the whole humankind.”

With the hope that these investments support Sustainable Development projects across the continent, he also described the investments as “win-win globalization that is necessary for the future world.”

Controversy: Many African leaders had to respond to domestic questions of “new colonialism” such as South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

What’s the link to Climate Change: Since 2000, China has been significantly increasing its investments across Africa, particularly in Energy. Data from Boston University researcher Kevin P Gallagher shows that Chinese-backed Overseas investments in Fossil Fuels have totalled $165 billion around the world.  This is  27x bigger than Non-Hydro Renewablesduring the same period.

Since Paris: Since 2015, China has received global acclaim for its domesti investments in Solar and Wind. However, Chinese-backed Overseas investments in Fossil Fuels have actually outpaced Non-Hydro Renewable investments by almost 100:1. This amounts to a grand total of $622 million in Non-Hydro Renewables vs. $60.1 Billion in Fossil Fuels (Coal, Oil and Gas).

Using Kevin P Gallagher’s research, we have graphed out these investments in 3 simple charts

Final Word: Since Trump, China has often been seen as a new Climate Leader. When you condiser their domestic investments in Renewables, that’s definitely the case. As Climate Negotiators gather in Bangkok to operationalise the “Rulebook” of the Paris Agreement, it’s worth considering China’s role on the global stage when evaluating their true leadership potential.

Chris Wright

About Chris Wright

Co-founder and Director of Climate Tracker. Based in Borneo. Trail Running convert.