Chinese Climate Pledges Come Amid Global Fossil Fuel Purchases

Chinese Climate Pledges Come Amid Global Fossil Fuel Purchases

A Commitment to Emissions Cuts?

Last week’s UN climate change conference provided world leaders with the opportunity to lay out their countries’ visions for a climate-friendly future. When Chinese President Hu Jintao took the stage, he pledged that “China will further integrate our actions on climate change into our economic and social development goals.”

The President laid out the four main steps that China would take to acknowledge its role in climate change, which included the goal of cutting “carbon dioxide emissions per unit GDP by a notable margin by 2020 from the 2005 level.” He also pledged China’s commitment to strengthening its carbon sink capacities by increasing forest cover, and to develop non fossil fuel energy-sources to 15% of Chinese consumption by 2020.

It might come as something of a surprise then to learn that in September alone, China has spent $3.69 billion on resources, the majority of which have been energy related and fossil-fuel based. As the UN summit kicked off in New York on September 22nd, China Investment Corp bought $1.9 billion of debt from Indonesia’s biggest coal producer, Bumi Resources. News sources today announced China’s purchase of an 11 percent stake in Kazakhstan’s state-run energy company for $939 million, and there are negotiations currently underway for China’s state-owned oil company to purchase one sixth of Nigeria’s oil reserves for around $30 billion.

China may be one of the world’s leading investors in renewable energy, with a national solar power plan that would make most climate-enlightened nations jealous, but the fact remains that with global commodity prices still low, China is choosing to invest a large portion of its vast financial reserves in fossil-fuel based energy. Given this kind of leadership, it seems that any real reductions in China’s green house gas emissions will remain unlikely.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia