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Cynism of China

We can only moderately be satisfied with China's efforts to contain its GHG emissions. It could be among the G20 members though to meet the COP21 commitments in terms of emissions by 2030, only. We know that this is ridiculously insufficient, see in particular the United Nations Emissions Gap Report here https: //www.unenvironment .org / interactive / emissions-gap-report /, which leaves us with little hope. To achieve this, China has become the largest producer of clean energy in the world, investing heavily in solar, wind, hydro... and therefore wants to reduce over its territory the proportion of electricity produced based on coal. Brilliant intention! But what to do with its coal production, of which it is the biggest global extractor, and where overcapacity increases?

Simple. More than half of Africans do not have access to electricity. They are even 63% in rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa to be deprived. What a brilliant opportunity.

Therefore, China finances most of the new power generation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa. Between 2014 and 2017, Chinese banks financed an average of $ 5 billion (€ 4.3 billion) a year in energy projects, making Beijing the continent's largest electrician. But instead of financing green projects, China is investing mainly in fossil and polluting solutions. which allows it to export its coal and its technology. A quarter of the world's coal-fired plants (outside of China) are now built or financed by Chinese companies. Most of the coal used to produce this electricity will come or already comes from China. Less and less used locally, because too polluting, this coal will thus serve to fuel the African power plants. In South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Madagascar, China is building thermal power plants, two-thirds of which are considered "very dangerous" or "dangerous" for the environment. Most Chinese players are public: China Development Bank and Exim Bank for loans, State Grid Corporation of China for Infrastructure, State Power Investment Corporation and Huadian Corporation for the production part of China. electricity. The Chinese state is therefore directly involved in this strategy.

We know that there is almost no way back. Once a country is dependent on fossil fuels for its electricity, it is very complicated and costly to ensure an energy transition, a coal-fired power station has an average lifespan of 50 years. We wrote already about it, so we will not revisit the issue of the African debt, the Chinese loans, the collateral required by the virtuous lenders, which sheds doubt on the investment capacity of African countries in clean energy in the near future. Very little hope, but as always, no reason not to do our fair share.


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