While China has termed Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) environmentally sustainable and green, it is a threat to climate change and is responsible for causing environmental degradation as almost 90 percent of its energy projects are carbon-intensive and operate on fossil fuel, think tank International Forum For Rights and Security (IFFRAS) has recently noted.

The BRI is set to aggravate environmental degradation and climate change further by contributing to the burning of carbon dioxide (CO2), according to IFFRAS. Coal-burning accounts for nearly 46 per cent of global CO2 emissions while 72 per cent of greenhouse gases from the electricity sector.

The BRI project, that’s spread across the five continents, will have serious, negative impacts on Earth. Under Chinese control, environmental guidelines are rarely followed, according to IFFRAS.

Indonesia, Egypt, Kenya, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Turkey are some of the countries in which coal-fired energy generation plants are planned under the BRI.

In Bangladesh, the BRI-sponsored SS Power One plant not only affect local biodiversity and destruct local livelihood but would aggravate negative effects of climate change through increased coal emissions.

In South-East Asia, these BRI projects have threatened biodiversity spots, where several endangered species live.

Now, it has come to the fore that Chinese banks have financed new 60 coal-fired plants outside the country. It means China has over 70 percent share in coal plant construction worldwide. All 60 plants would emit 276 mega tonnes of CO2 every year, which is equivalent to what entire Spain releases every year.

At the Woodrow Wilson Center, director of the China Environment Forum Jennifer Turner said, “What China is selling is the China development model, which was energy-intense, no holds barred.”

Author: Soumya Duggal