BEIJING, 22 September 2021 – In a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, China’s President Xi Jinping pledged that China will not build any new coal-fired power projects overseas.

Li Yan, Greenpeace China’s Chief Representative, said: 

“China’s pledge to stop building coal overseas is an essential step to avoid global warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius and the worst effects of climate change. This codifies the recent downward trend in China’s outgoing coal investment into a pledge that will spur the world’s energy transition forward. The coal era is finally ending. This is another progressive milestone in global climate actions, building forward from last year’s Net Zero commitment.

“Implementation will be key here, looking at how this pledge applies to state banks and financiers’ portfolios. This announcement opens the opportunity for China to collaborate with developing countries to open low-carbon pathways. So, implementation should push Chinese financiers to be a source of solutions. China’s overseas renewable energy investment needs to expand solar and wind power. And the world needs flexible financial solutions to deliver those projects where they’re needed. Green finance and renewable energy investment remain major frontlines in the fight against climate change, both internationally and in China’s ongoing efforts to curb coal domestically, which sets an important example for developing countries.”

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, said: 

“This commitment sets a strong tone as we move into COP26 negotiations. This is a crucial moment in the fight against climate change. China’s pledge heralds the end of overseas coal finance, along with similar commitments this year from other top coal financiers South Korea and Japan. It’s important that this pledge moves both China and the global community forward to more ambitious climate action, limiting fossil fuels and shifting into high gear on renewable energy solutions. 

“In the face of climate disasters, we have little time to deliver climate action. Solid emissions reductions commitments provide momentum not only for an end to fossil fuels, but for innovation in renewable and sustainable energy solutions. Hopefully this important decision on financing international coal can also inspire China to follow a similar path domestically, for the health of its people and the planet.”


August Rick, Greenpeace East Asia, Beijing: [email protected], +86 175 1040 4599

Greenpeace International Press Desk: [email protected], +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)