Can China help end the world’s addiction to coal? | News

Last week the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, made a hugely meaningful announcement when he promised to stop funding coal-fired strength projects around the world. The news was greeted as a sign of Xi’s commitment on the climate crisis, and a big raise before the crucial Cop26 summit in Glasgow in November. However, experts want to know when the change will come into practice. They warn that China’s plans for continued economic growth are heavily reliant on coal at home – and that its thousands of coal plants are a huge contributor to its position as the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gas.

In this episode, the Guardian’s global ecosystem editor, Jonathan Watts, who spent a decade reporting from Beijing, joins Nosheen Iqbal to explain the recent history of China’s reliance on coal, and mirror on why it has made this announcement now. And he sets out the reasons to be hopeful on the basis of Xi’s announcement, and the reasons to keep concerned that China – and the world – are not moving quickly enough.

The Huaibei coal-fired power plant in Haibei city, Anhui province, China.

Photograph: Li Bin/EPA

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