China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013, has been described as the most ambitious infrastructure project in history. BRI has the potential to transform economies in China’s partner countries. Yet it could also tip the world into catastrophic climate change.
While China has imposed a cap on coal consumption at home, its coal and energy companies are on a building spree overseas. The Belt and Road Initiative threatens to lock China’s partners into the high-emissions development that China is trying to exit. These new coal plants will make it much more difficult for poor countries to meet their climate goals under the Paris Agreement.