September 22, 2021

Anti-coal campaigners laud China pledge not to build new coal plants overseas 

Press Release: 22 September 2021

Africa: Anti-coal campaigners and activists in Africa are pleased to learn that China will not be building new coal projects overseas, following an announcement by Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The announcement by Jinping was made in a recorded statement to the U.N General Assembly on Tuesday. Beyond the promise not to build new coal-fired projects overseas, China has also pledged to step up support for green and low carbon energy in developing countries. The campaigners who were attending the third annual Africa Coal Conference, termed the move a victory for communities in areas such as Lamu, Kenya; Sengwa, Zimbabwe; Ekumfi, Ghana; and Bargny, Senegal and many others who have been steadfast in challenging their governments and China to halt coal mining and construction of coal plants.

Landry Ninteretse of said;

“We welcome this long-awaited announcement by China. This move will scale down fossil fuels in the continent, and limit harmful impacts of coal that are already being felt in parts of the continent. China is paving the way for other governments that continue to venture into deadly fossil fuel projects to stop them and instead accelerate plans to phase out coal, end public finance for oil and gas and implement a just transition based on renewable energy for the continent. China’s pledge to scale up support to green energy is also a show of great commitment that will inject much needed momentum in the pursuit of a just transition in developing nations mostly vulnerable to the climate crisis. ”

Daouda Gueye of RAPEN, a network of organisations fighting against coal and gas in Bargny, Senegal said;

“The move by China is a huge step forward. The communities across Africa that have been at the forefront in the fight against coal, are happy to learn that we are well on the way to a complete phase-out of coal in the continent. The climate movement will however not lose sight of the goal to end coal mining in Africa. We will continue to put up a joint, spirited fight, to hold our governments to account on issues of coal mining. Our governments have to take action to phase out coal and instead invest heavily in clean energy for the sake of the environment and local communities.”

Michael Terungwa of Coal Free Nigeria Coalition said;

“This is a positive political statement by China. Charity begins at home, says an adage. The Chinese Government should not finance or build coal plants in China and should begin the process of decommissioning coal plants abroad. In China, they should also set a plan in motion, for a just transition to renewable energy. We urge African countries to position themselves to benefit from the renewable energy finance promised by the Chinese government. We also call on the Government of Nigeria to stop issuing coal mining licenses.”

The Africa Coal Conference, which brought together delegates from 20 African countries, since Monday 20th September, has been hearing testimonies of community organisers who are challenging coal and calling for a just transition in Africa. According to a report by the climate think tank E3G, the Subsaharan Africa coal pipeline which accounts for 5% of the global total, has declined by 47% since 2015. The report further notes that over 7 African countries have fully scrapped their coal projects, since 2015. 


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