China’s CO2-intensive Belt Road Initiative Threat to Environment: Report

While China has termed Belt Road Initiative (BRI) environmentally sustainable and green, it is a threat to climate change and is responsible for causing environmental degradation as almost 90 per cent of its energy projects are carbon-intensive and operate on fossil fuel, think tank International Forum For Rights and Security (IFFRAS) has recently noted.

The BRI is set to aggravate environmental degradation and climate change further by contributing to the burning of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to IFFRAS. Coal-burning accounts for nearly 46 per cent of global CO2 emissions while 72 per cent of greenhouse gases from the electricity sector.

The BRI project, that’s spread across the five continents, will have serious, negative impacts on Earth. Under Chinese control, environmental guidelines are rarely followed, according to IFFRAS.

Indonesia, Egypt, Kenya, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Turkey are some of the countries in which coal-fired energy generation plants are planned under the BRI. In Bangladesh, the BRI-sponsored SS Power One plant not only affect local biodiversity and destruct local livelihood but would aggravate negative effects of climate change through increased coal emissions.

In South-East Asia, these BRI projects have threatened biodiversity spots, where several endangered species live. Now, it has come to the fore that Chinese banks have financed new 60 coal-fired plants outside the country. It means China has over 70 percent share in coal plant construction worldwide. All 60 plants would emit 276 megatonnes of CO2 every year, which is equivalent to what entire Spain releases every year.

At the Woodrow Wilson Center, director of the China Environment Forum Jennifer Turner said, “What China is selling is the China development model, which was energy-intense, no holds barred.”

The communist regime has termed BRI green despite the fact that the majority of the projects are dependent on fossil fuels.

In energy and transportation, the Chinese projects will be carried out in a conventional way, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI). And in conventional pattern, the projects won’t be committed to low-carbon development strategies and objectives, said IFFRAS.

A report by the WRI said, “From 2014 to 2017, 91 per cent of the energy-sector syndicated loans in which the six major Chinese banks and 61 per cent of the energy-sector loans financed entirely by China Development Bank and/or China Exim bank were in fossil fuels.”

However, the communist regime does not publicise the details of the BRI contracts.

As per the Global Environment Institute, at the end of 2016, nearly 240 coal-fired projects were planned in different countries under BRI.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.