China Pulls Out Of Polluting Belt & Road Initiative Projects

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  • Beijing backs away from financing Bangladeshi coal power plants 
  • Comes after promises to promote eco-friendly BRI developments 

China’s Ambassador to Bangladesh has informed the local Ministry of Finance that “the Chinese side shall no longer consider projects with high pollution and high energy consumption, such as coal mining, and coal-fired power stations.”

The turn away from financing polluting projects, even overseas, comes as Bangladesh and China are renegotiating US$3.6 billion in infrastructure loans agreed in 2016 that Dhaka now wants to repurpose. It is a welcome sign of Beijing’s new hesitation in funding polluting coal projects as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

Beijing has been taking steps to fulfill recent promises of sustainable and green Belt and Road investment.

China has repeatedly stated that new BRI projects would be based on “pro green development”. A study backed by China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment released in December called for a negative list of polluting projects to discourage environmentally harmful investments. Last year, Chinese companies for the first time committed most of their energy investment to renewable projects.

China’s Ministry of Ecology has released a “Classification System Report” as part of the BRI International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC). The BRIGC was established after the second Belt and Road Forum in April 2019, is supervised by the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) and has its own secretariat.

“A green BRI will provide a platform for all countries to share in a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable development mechanism, and to implement the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” the report states.

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