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2 Jul 2019

Dana Ullman, Foreign Policy

China exports coal-related equipment and technology to foreign countries while turning to renewable energy domestically, critic says

“When Coal Comes to Paradise”, 9 June 2019

… While China is on track to meeting its Paris climate agreement targets domestically, it continues to invest in and profit from coal power projects across the world. Domestic restrictions do not apply to projects abroad, and China has capitalized on this exception by exporting its surplus of coal-related equipment and technology to countries desperate for industry, undermining a global push to phase out coal…

… Since Kenya has no infrastructure in place for the transport of coal, South Africa has been granted a contract to import coal to the site until Kenya can build a railway from Lamu to Mui Basin in Kitui County, over 200 miles away, where concessions have been granted to Chinese companies to begin coal mining.

Critics of the project argue that the long-term costs of pollution, water contamination, overpopulation, and imports far outweigh saving a few cents on electricity…

The coal project is owned by Amu Power, a Kenyan, Omani, U.S., and Chinese consortium. China, through three companies including state-owned China Huadian Corporation, the world’s second-largest coal plant developer. In 2017, China Power Global signed a $2 billion deal with Amu Power for the coal plant. The Industrial Commercial Bank of China has financed $1.2 billion. In May 2018, the U.S. conglomerate General Electric purchased a 20 percent stake—$400 million—in the power plant. GE says it will “design, manufacture and deliver its ‘Ultra Super-Critical’ clean coal technology components [boiler and steam turbine generator] and air quality control systems.”

… Testifying at a tribunal hearing on LAPSSET, Lauri Myllyvirta, a coal and air pollution expert at Greenpeace, said “the project would emit five to 10 times more air pollution than new coal plants are allowed to emit in China.”…

… The fishermen invariably complain that dredging for the construction of Lamu’s port about 10 miles away is the cause of dwindling numbers of fish… Dredging for the Lamu port has already destroyed mangrove forests, coral reefs, and traditional breeding areas for fish and other wildlife which local communities have depended on for their food and livelihoods for centuries. Conflicts over compensation, jobs, and land rights have also intensified, resulting in legal cases and protests stalling the coal plant project over the last few years… [Also refers to Agricultural Bank of China, Bank of China, China Construction Bank , African Development Bank]