Beijing, May 12 2017- On Sunday, 28 government leaders will meet in Beijing for the Belt and Road summit. As China embarks on its historic investment initiative, Greenpeace urges that environmental accountability be prioritized.
“Shaping the Belt and Road initiative with the environment in mind is key to setting the new ‘China story’ right,” said Greenpeace campaigner Yixiu Wu. “The initiative should be used to promote renewable energy and environmental sustainability on a global scale.”
Greenpeace urges that environmental impact assessments be integrated into the Belt and Road initiative and that the results of these assessments be made publicly available.
“Companies with poor environmental records abroad should be named within China,” said Wu. “Moreover, including a wide range of stakeholders in the design of this evaluation system will strengthen its impact.”
On Monday, four of China’s government ministries released the document, “Guidance to Promote the Construction of a Green Belt and Road” . The document says building a “Green Belt and Road” requires input from various stakeholders in addition to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). It also includes a proposal for finance mechanisms that would encourage investments aimed at tackling environmental challenges.
“The document shows positive momentum for creating a Belt and Road initiative that reflects the global environmental crisis. The next step is implementing a system that turns this resolve into action,” said Wu.
Domestically, China’s energy transition is already underway. China is the world’s leading renewable energy manufacturer, and coal consumption has dropped for three consecutive years .
Yet China remains the No.1 financier of overseas coal projects worldwide. Between 2007 and 2015, China’s banks invested more than USD 25 billion in coal projects .
“Given that more than half of China’s outbound investment is in the energy and infrastructure sectors, the Belt and Road initiative is an opportunity for China to play a leading role in the transition from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy. Prioritizing sustainability will cement China’s legacy as it assumes a larger role on the global stage,” said Wu .