China promotes ‘green’ belt and road, but is pressured over coal investments

    More than 30 heads of state arrive in Beijing to court its massive outward investment plan, but the UN chief and others warn the investments must be sustainable

    China launched an “international green development coalition” on Thursday, in the face of growing concern about its coal investments.

    The environment ministry hosted an event on the “green belt and road” as part of a leaders’ summit in Beijing to promote Chinese investment in partner countries.

    According to the official progress report on president Xi Jinping’s flagship foreign policy: “The Belt and Road Initiative pursues the vision of green development and a way of life and work that is green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable. The initiative is committed to strengthening cooperation on environmental protection and defusing environmental risks.”

    However, China’s energy investments abroad continue to favour coal, threatening to blow the global carbon budget. More than 30 heads of state are due to attend the summit, including from countries with shared coal, oil and gas interests such as Russia, Indonesia and Pakistan.

    In a press conference before travelling to join them, UN chief Antonio Guterres said greening the initiative was important to meeting international climate goals. “We need a lot of investments in sustainable development, in renewable energy, and a lot of investments in infrastructure that respect the future,” he said, as reported by Xinhua.