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Graham Perry
Graham Perry
Experienced Arbitration Lawyer | China & Chinese Business Affairs | Public Speaker/Lecturer.


President Xi Jinping has announced, at the UN General Assembly, that China will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad. In a pre-recorded video address he said “China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and will not build new coal-fired power projects abroad.”

Dr Kevin Gallagher, Director of Boston University’s Global Development Policy Centre said that China “deserves great praise for pledging to stop building coal plants overseas – the first developing country to make such a pledge”. Accelerating the global phase-out of coal is an important step to keep the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach.

Aside from the initiatives + the numbers, there is a political point that is often overlooked. The British Industrial Revolution commenced in 1760; the US Industrial Revolution triggered by major railway network construction occurred in the 19th Century. Today it is the same industrially developed world that, today, decries China for taking steps to modernise itself.  The 19th Century in China was the beginning of its own Century of Humiliation as Western Countries – the US, the UK, Germany, France  – and Japan subjugated China and denied it the opportunity that the same Countries had taken for themselves.

The environment is not a snapshot of a moment in time. It is an evolution – generation upon generation working to produce growth and development. As the UK was forcing Opium down the throats of Chinese citizens, its own entrepreneurs were engaged in massive coal-fired development in Lancashire and Yorkshire. China through off the shackles and chains of Western exploitation through 20+ years of Civil War and since 1949 has taken its people from being “The Sick Man of Asia” in 1949 to the leading economic power in the world today.

The Climate Issue is about Climate. But the Climate Issue is also about Politics.

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