Which female celebrities proposed to their male partners? – South China Morning Post

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Which female celebrities proposed to their male partners?  South China Morning Put up

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China hit by power cuts and factory closures as energy crisis bites | China

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China has told railway companies and local authorities to expedite vital coal supplies to utilities as the world’s second largest economy grapples with extensive power cuts that have crippled industrial output in key regions.

As many as 20 provinces are believed to be experiencing the crisis to some degree, with factories temporarily shuttered or working on short hours. Shopkeepers were left to light their stores by candles, and there were reports of mobile networks failing after a three-day outage hit three north-eastern provinces.

Growing alarm among residents at the power crunch, now in its second week, comes as China’s state planner – the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) – formally urged local economic planners, energy administrations and railway companies to beef up coal transportation to meet demand during the winter season. China is the world’s biggest consumer of coal-powered energy.

“Each railway company should strengthen coal transportation to power houses (utilities) with inventory of less than seven days and launch the emergency supply mechanism in a timely manner,” said the NDRC.

According to the South China Morning Post, quoting analysis by Sinolink Securities, stocks of coal used to generate electricity – held by the nation’s six biggest power-generation groups – stood at a record low of just 11.31m tonnes as of 21 September – enough to produce power for 15 days.

The energy crunch has been driven by a series of complex overlapping factors which have combined to create a perfect storm in an economy which relies on coal for 56% of its power.

Trying to reduce its emissions to become carbon neutral by 2060, the Chinese economy has lagged behind in improving energy efficiency even as coal production has slowed because of new regulations.

On top of that, the rebound in demand for goods from Chinese factories as the world reopens after the Covid-19 pandemic – a factor facing other economies – has left coal production unable to keep up with the demand for energy from factories.

With thermal coal futures in China hitting an all-time high of $212.92 per tonne earlier on Wednesday, the rising prices have put further pressure on power utilities unable to recoup added fuel costs.

According to an analysis paper by S&P Global on Wednesday, the issues have been exacerbated by China’s own attempts to intervene in the crisis which it described as a “tinderbox of issues”.

“China’s latest measures to cap energy consumption have been widely blamed for causing the current power crisis, but the curbs more likely ignited a tinderbox of issues accumulating for months around soaring fuel prices and coal shortages, highlighting the difficulties in implementing energy policy in the context of a huge economy with numerous moving parts.”

The problems have been most acute in the three north-eastern provinces of Liaoning, Jilin, and Heilongjiang with local authorities in Shenyang, the capital of Liaoning province, warning of “the collapse of the entire grid” if power wasn’t rationed.

“If there’s a power cut in the winter then the heat stops too,” said Fang Xuedong, 32, a delivery driver in Shenyang, about a 90-minute flight north east of Beijing.

“I have a kid and an elderly person at home, if there’s no heat then that’s a problem.”

China, the world’s top coal consumer imported a total of 197.69m tonnes of coal in the first eight months of 2021, down 10% year-on-year. But August coal imports rose by more than a third on tight domestic supplies.

Officials this week have repeatedly sought to assure people there will be power for household use and heating as winter approaches.

But since last week, power rationing has been implemented during peak hours in many parts of north-eastern China, with news reports and social media posts showing outages of traffic lights and 3G communications networks in the region.

China is considering hiking industrial power prices to ease the supply crunch, Bloomberg news reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.

The NDRC said later on Wednesday the government would not stop electricity prices from floating within a reasonable range and would let them reflect market fundamentals and changes in cost.

The curbs also continue to affect heavy industry, such as metal production, and manufacturers.

An internal document from a large technology components maker in China reviewed by Reuters said more than half its daily production in Kunshan, in the eastern industrial province of Jiangsu, had been suspended since earlier this week.

Meanwhile in Foshan, in southern China’s bustling province of Guangdong, the company was only allowed to produce late at night and in the early morning from mid to late-September, according to the document, which said manufacturers were “ambushed” with the new restrictions.

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Bob Woodward on Milley's call to China: His whole point is that miscommunication is the seed of war – CNN

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  1. Bob Woodward on Milley’s call to China: His whole point is that miscommunication is the seed of war  CNN
  2. Top U.S. military officer defends calls to China in last days of Trump presidency  CBC.ca
  3. In Senate Hearing, General Mark Milley Defends China Calls, Refuses to Call Trump “Crazy”  Vanity Fair
  4. General Milley says Trump officials knew of calls to China  Al Jazeera English
  5. Top U.S. general Milley staunchly defends calls with China  National Post
  6. View Full coverage on Google News

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Global National: Sept. 25, 2021 | Emotional reunions as 2 Michaels return from China – Global News

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Global National: Sept. 25, 2021 | Emotional reunions as 2 Michaels return from China  Global NewsView Full coverage on Google News

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Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor arrive in Canada after nearly 3-year detention in China

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Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are back on home soil, almost three years after they were first detained in China.

The two men landed in Calgary shortly before 8 a.m. ET Saturday aboard a Royal Canadian Air Force Challenger aircraft. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was at the airport to welcome the two men, who had flown from China along with ambassador Dominic Barton.

Trudeau announced Friday evening the two were out of Chinese airspace, just hours after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou had an extradition case against her dropped. Meng reached a deferred prosecution agreement with U.S. authorities related to fraud charges against her on Friday.

“These two men have gone through an unbelievably difficult ordeal,” Trudeau said Friday. “For the past 1,000 days, they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace.”

Kovrig, a diplomat, and Spavor, an entrepreneur who worked in North Korea and China, were first detained in December 2018 — just after Meng was arrested in Canada on behalf of U.S. authorities. Their detention is widely considered to be a retaliatory action in response to the Huawei executive’s arrest.

Chinese authorities had consistently denied that the cases were linked.

Spavor was found guilty of spying and sentenced to 11 years in prison and extradition by a Chinese court in August. The trial for Kovrig concluded in March, but he had not yet been sentenced.

meng-wanzhou Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor arrive in Canada after nearly 3-year detention in China
Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou reads a statement outside the B.C. Supreme Court following the conclusion of her extradition hearing. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Timing shows clear link between cases, experts say

The timing of the releases of Meng, and Spavor and Kovrig, show China clearly saw a connection between the two, several diplomats and foreign policy experts told CBC News.

“China … up until now, has said that there’s been no linkage between the two, but by putting them on the plane [Friday night], they’ve clearly acknowledged that this was hostage-taking,” said Colin Robertson, a former Canadian diplomat for more than 30 years.

Robertson told CBC’s The House “it really was one for the other” in an exchange that was reminiscent of Cold War swaps.

LISTEN | Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor freed:

CBC News: The House14:38Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor freed

What does Friday’s turn of events all mean for Canada’s relationship with China? Experts Colin Robertson, Guy Saint-Jacques and Lynette Ong join The House to discuss. 14:38

“The timing, it’s totally undeniable that the two Michaels were unjustly detained because of the arrest of Ms. Meng in Vancouver,” Lynette Ong, a specialist on China at the Munk School of Global Affairs, told The House host Chris Hall.

The rapid series of events Friday “was a surprise,” said Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa.

She noted Spavor and Kovrig’s detention had already sent a message to other countries “that if they cross China, then Beijing will just pick up a couple of their citizens and hold them hostage.

“And that’s a chilling message for other countries to be receiving today.”

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Canadian PM Trudeau says detained citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have left China | China

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Two Canadian citizens who were detained by Beijing for more than 1,000 days have left Chinese airspace and will arrive back in Canada early on Saturday, prime minister Justin Trudeau told reporters.

A plane carrying Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor left Chinese airspace around 7.30pm Ottawa time, just hours after US authorities reached an agreement allowing Chinese Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, to return to China in exchange for admitting wrongdoing in a fraud case. Shortly before Trudeau spoke, Meng boarded a plane to Shenzhen, AFP reported.

The two Michaels, as they came to be known, were detained in December 2018 on accusations of espionage, shortly after Vancouver police arrested Meng on a US warrant, over allegations she and the company breached economic sanctions on Iran.

The two Michaels maintained their innocence, and Canada and other western governments had accused China of engaging in “hostage diplomacy”, arbitrarily arresting the men on charges Canada said were baseless.

“Twelve minutes ago Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor left Chinese airspace on their way back home,” Trudeau told reporters in brief remarks on Friday. They were accompanied by Canadian ambassador Dominic Barton.

“These two men have been through an unbelievably difficult situation, but it is inspiring and it is good news for all of us that they are on their way home to their families.”

“For the past 1,000 days they have shown strength, perseverance, resilience and grace, and we are all inspired by that.”

Spavor, – who lived near the North Korean border and arranged cultural exchanges – was accused of supplying intelligence to Kovrig, a former diplomat turned analyst for the International Crisis Group, according to state media. They were tried in secret.

China has long denied their arrest was at all connected with Meng’s detention, while simultaneously suggesting their fates were tied to hers. In the end, China released the two Michaels without providing any legal reason. Spavor had been sentenced to 11 years in prison last month, while Kovrig’s verdict, following a secret trial in March, was yet to be announced.

At the same time as the two Michaels were arrested, Chinese authorities also increased the sentence against fellow Canadian Robert Schellenberg, from 15 years in jail to a death sentence.

At least four other Canadians are on death sentences in Canada, with escalations in their cases coinciding with development’s in Meng’s case, Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, a senior fellow at the University of Ottawa told the National Post in March.

At the short press conference on Friday, Trudeau would not be drawn on how the case had affected the relationship with China. He said he had spoken to China’s leader, Xi Jinping, “a number of years ago” about the case, and Canada would continue to stand up for Canadians’ interests around the world.

“Right now the focus is on getting them home safe,” he said.

“I want to thank our allies and partners around the world in the international community who have stood steadfast in solidarity with Canada and with these two Canadians,” he said.

Earlier on Friday the US department of justice announced it had reached a deal with Meng, Huawei’s chief financial officer and daughter of the company’s founder, for a deferred prosecution. Under the deal, Meng admitted to wrongdoing in key elements of the case, including misleading unnamed financial institutions about the business relationship between Huawei and a subsidiary in Iran.

Prosecutors recommended she be released and returned home. Meng had been held under loose house arrest conditions which allowed her to travel around Vancouver during the day, and return to her home in an upmarket suburb of the city at night. During the pandemic her husband, son and daughter were able to visit her.

“Over the past three years my life has been turned upside down. It was a disruptive time for me as a mother, as a wife,” Meng told reporters and supporters after the hearing.

“But I believe every cloud has a silver lining. It really was an invaluable experience in my life. I will never forget all the good wishes I received from people around the world,” she said.

With Reuters and Agence-France Presse

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‘Simply untrue’: IMF’s Georgieva pushes back on World Bank probe | Banks News

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The report has put IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva at risk of seeing her authority undermined just weeks before an annual meeting of global finance chiefs.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva this week gave the lender’s board a more detailed defense against accusations that she improperly influenced a report in China’s favor in her previous job at the World Bank.

In a three-page letter to the head of the board’s ethics committee dated Sept. 21 and obtained by Bloomberg News, Georgieva — who at the time was the World Bank’s chief executive officer — said she was surprised by law firm WilmerHale’s conclusion in a Sept. 15 audit report that she played a “key role” in changes related to China’s ranking in the Doing Business 2018 report.

“This is simply untrue,” Georgieva wrote. “The premise on which this accusation is built — that I pressured staff to inflate China’s Doing Business 2018 ranking because of the Bank’s capital increase — is wrong and based on fundamental misunderstandings of my role as CEO of the World Bank, the work on capital increase, my involvement in Doing Business 2018, and how I carry myself personally and professionally.”

The report has put Georgieva, 68, at risk of seeing her authority undermined just weeks before an annual meeting of global finance chiefs. The U.S. Treasury sees the accusations as serious and is “analyzing the report,” while Republican lawmakers have called for Treasury to probe the allegations.

The IMF previously pledged a “thorough, objective, and timely review” of the allegations against Georgieva. Last week, after the WilmerHale audit was released, Georgieva said she disagreed with the findings and told fund staff at a town hall that she asked staff to double-check or triple-check data, but never change its ultimate message.

The IMF press office declined to comment on the letter. WilmerHale didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the letter, Georgieva said her involvement in reviewing the Doing Business report was part of her role overseeing the department that produced it.

She said she “asked the team to thoroughly check every data point and judgment applied to the rankings to make sure that we were on solid ground. I also asked the team to address complaints of many members that their reforms did not result in higher rankings.”

Georgieva said she learned later on that the Doing Business team “decided to make some changes to the China data, which affected its ranking.” Ultimately, China’s ranking stayed the same as the prior year’s instead of falling, though it didn’t increase, Georgieva wrote.

Georgieva wrote in the letter that the audit contains “many other assertions, innuendos and presumptions” that are untrue.

 



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Can NET-A-PORTER’s Celebrity Cast Pay Off In China?

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The Social Edition is our weekly series which deep dives into luxury initiatives in China’s social media landscape. Every week, we highlight brand campaigns distributed on Chinese digital platforms — WeChat, Weibo, Tmall, Douyin, and beyond.

Our coverage spotlights global luxury brands, global beauty brands, and local Chinese brands. The latter gives insight into some of China’s most successful campaigns, which often come from local players, and are outside of the beauty and fashion space.

In this week’s roundup, we look at two campaigns, including NET-A-PORTER’s announcement on its newly appointed brand partner and SkinCeuticals’ short film release in collaboration with extensive celebrities.

NET-A-PORTERPi Announces a New Male Idol as Brand Partner 
net-a-porter-1024x1024 Can NET-A-PORTER's Celebrity Cast Pay Off In China?
BRAND NET-A-PORTER
CATEGORY Luxury
PLATFORMS Weibo, Tmall
MEDIUM Images, Short-video, Livestream
FEATURED TALENTS Liu Yu (4M Weibo Followers)

OVERVIEW 
On September 22, NET-A-PORTER, the global luxury e-commerce company, officially announced that Liu Yu, the leader of the boy group INTO1, would be its Tmall Brand Partner to help celebrate the second anniversary of its official flagship store launch on Tmall in 2019. Additionally, the young celebrity participated in a livestream on Tmall to share his personal journey in INTO1, as well as some of his styling inspirations.

NETIZEN REACTION
The idol economy has been diluted in China, as the country has been curbing idol fandom on the internet. Still, Yu’s four million Weibo followers drove substantial traffic for the campaign. The announcement post was reposted by over 245,000 Weibo users, with many supportive comments below.

VERDICT
As the rivalry among luxury e-commerce brands intensifies in China, players are putting more effort into boosting their image among local digital shoppers. To achieve this goal, celebrity endorsements are still considered an efficient approach despite the recent crackdown on fan communities. Given this, perhaps a smaller scale partnership — in place of a long-term commitment — is a safer bet to leverage immediate traffic.

SkinCeuticals Releases Short film on Chinese Professionals

SkinCeuticals-1024x1024 Can NET-A-PORTER's Celebrity Cast Pay Off In China?

BRAND SkinCeuticals
CATEGORY Skincare
PLATFORMS Weibo
MEDIUM Images, Short-video
FEATURED TALENTS Bai Jingting (30.4M Weibo Followers) | Jian Zihao (5.7M) | Mai Zi (903K) | Su Yiming (74.2K)

OVERVIEW 
L’Oréal-owned skincare brand SkinCeuticals teamed up with the digital creative house Xinshixiang to produce a short film called “The Power To Become.” The film features six celebrities with achievements in their respective fields (tennis player Li Na, e-sports player Jian Zihao, actor Bai Jingting, director Mai Zi, dermatology expert Li Xiaomin, and snowboarder Su Yiming) and exposes the dedication along their career journeys that led to their professional success.

NETIZEN REACTION
Since the two-minute short film first launched on September 16, over 1.5 million users have viewed it on Weibo. The campaign hashtag #ThePowerToBecome garnered over 15 million views in one week, thanks to an endorsement from the brand’s China ambassador, Bai Jingting. Meanwhile, the cast, particularly Jian Zihao and Su Yiming, allowed the campaign to reach broader audiences beyond the brand’s usual followers.

VERDICT
As a brand dedicated to providing advanced skincare products backed by science, SkinCeuticals is distinguishing itself from others in the field by strengthening its professional image through campaigns like this one. And as more Chinese beauty shoppers show a greater interest in researching skincare ingredients and formulas, innovative dermatology products can use popular local professionals to expand their market shares.



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Olympic hockey schedule for 2022 in Beijing announced

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The United States will face China and Canada will play Germany in their opening preliminary round games of the men’s ice hockey competition at the 2022 Beijing Olympics at 9:10 a.m. ET on Feb. 10, the International Ice Hockey Federation announced Thursday.

The host country will make its Olympic debut in men’s ice hockey when it plays the U.S. at National Indoor Stadium. In a potential showdown between Edmonton Oilers teammates Connor McDavid, a native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, and Cologne, Germany native Leon Draisaitl, Canada will face Germany at the same time at Wukesong Sport Center.

The NHL and NHL Players’ Association reached an agreement with the IIHF for NHL players to participate in the 2022 Olympics after the NHL skipped the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. The 2021-22 NHL regular season will break from Feb. 3-22 for the 2022 Honda NHL All-Star Weekend at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and the Olympic men’s hockey tournament, which gets underway with two games at National Indoor Stadium on Feb. 9. The Russian Olympic Committee faces Switzerland at 4:40 a.m. ET and the Czech Republic takes on Denmark at 9:10 a.m. ET.

Sweden plays its opening game against Latvia at 12:10 a.m. ET and Finland will face Slovakia at 4:40 a.m. ET at National Indoor Stadium on Feb. 10.

The U.S. and Canada have a day off following their openers before they play one another in each team’s second preliminary round game at 12:10 a.m. ET at National Indoor Stadium on Feb. 12.

Each of the 12 teams will play three preliminary round games in group play. Group A includes Canada, the U.S., Germany and China. Group B is comprised of the Russian Olympic Committee, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Denmark. Group C is Finland, Sweden, Slovakia and Latvia.

The three first-place teams and top second-place team in group play will receive byes into the Olympic quarterfinals. The eight other teams will be paired in qualifying round games Feb. 15 with the winners advancing to the quarterfinals Feb. 16.

The Olympic semifinals will be held Feb. 18, with the bronze medal game Feb. 19 and gold medal game Feb. 20.

Olympic men’s ice hockey schedule

Wednesday, Feb. 9
At National Indoor Stadium
Russian Olympic Committee vs. Switzerland, 4:40 a.m. ET
Czech Republic vs. Denmark, 9:10 a.m. ET

Thursday, Feb. 10
At National Indoor Stadium
Sweden vs. Latvia, 12:10 a.m. ET
Finland vs. Slovakia, 4:40 a.m. ET
United States vs. China, 9:10 a.m. ET

At Wukesong Sport Center
Canada vs. Germany, 9:10 a.m. ET

Friday, Feb. 11
At National Indoor Stadium
Denmark vs. Russian Olympic Committee, 12:10 a.m. ET
Czech Republic vs. Switzerland, 4:40 a.m. ET
Latvia vs. Finland, 9:10 a.m. ET

At Wukesong Sport Center
Sweden vs. Slovakia, 4:40 a.m. ET

Saturday, Feb. 12
At National Indoor Stadium
Canada vs. United States, 12:10 a.m. ET
Germany vs. China, 4:40 a.m. ET
Russian Olympic Committee vs. Czech Republic, 9:10 a.m. ET

At Wukesong Sport Center
Switzerland vs. Denmark, 9:10 a.m. ET

Sunday, Feb. 13
At National Indoor Stadium
Slovakia vs. Latvia, 12:10 a.m. ET
Finland vs. Sweden, 4:40 a.m. ET
China vs. Canada, 9:10 a.m. ET

At Wukesong Sport Center
United States vs. Germany, 9:10 a.m. ET

Monday, Feb. 14
Off day

Tuesday, Feb. 15
At National Indoor Stadium
Qualifying round Game 1, 12:10 a.m. ET
Qualifying round Game 3, 4:40 a.m. ET
Qualifying round Game 4, 9:10 a.m. ET

At Wukesong Sport Center
Qualifying round Game 2, 2 a.m. ET

Wednesday, Feb. 16
At National Indoor Stadium
Quarterfinal 1, 12:10 a.m. ET
Quarterfinal 3, 4:40 a.m. ET
Quarterfinal 4, 9:30 a.m. ET

At Wukesong Sport Center
Quarterfinal 2, 2 a.m. ET

Thursday, Feb. 17
Off day

Friday, Feb, 18
At National Indoor Stadium
Semifinal 1, 12:10 a.m. ET
Semifinal 2, 9:10 a.m. ET

Saturday, Feb. 19
At National Indoor Stadium
Bronze medal game, 9:10 a.m. ET

Sunday, Feb. 20
At National Indoor Stadium
Gold medal game, 9:10 a.m. ET



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China pledge to stop funding coal projects ‘buys time for emissions target’ | China

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Xi Jinping’s announcement that China will stop funding overseas coal projects could buy the world about three more months in the race to keep global heating to a relatively safe level of 1.5C, experts say.

Although the impact will depend on implementation, China’s declaration should also help to kill off coal, which has been humanity’s primary power source for most of the last 200 years.

Ending Chinese coal financing has long been near the top of climate activists’ wishlists. For more than a decade, China has been the lender of last resort for overseas governments seeking finance for thermal power plants. That role has accelerated since the 2013 start of the country’s belt and road initiative (BRI).

Xi’s declaration is likely to affect at least 54 gigawatts of China-backed coal power projects, which are in active development but not yet under construction, according to the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air.

Lauri Myllyvirta, the centre’s lead analyst, said this was equivalent to about three months of global emissions. “These plants, if built and operated, would have emitted around 250-280 megatonnes of CO2 a year, which is roughly equal to the total emissions of Spain. Assuming an operating life of 35 years, the cumulative emissions would amount to 10 gigatonnes, or a year of China’s emissions, or three months of global emissions,” he calculated.

These figures are based on several assumptions. China provides scant information about the scale of its overseas coal financing. At the very least, there is evidence that 40% of the heavy equipment at new coal plants outside China and India comes from China.

It is also not clear yet whether Chinese banks and power firms will only pull out of projects that are at the planning stage, or also those under negotiation or at an early stage of construction. This year alone, Chinese companies have facilitated an additional 10 new coal-fired power plant projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Indonesia, Turkey, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates, according to Just Finance International, which monitors BRI coal projects in Europe and internationally. China does not publicly disclose whether these contracts have reached financial closure.

“While we welcome China’s pledge, we are waiting to see how much weight this announcement will hold,” said Wawa Wang, program director of Just Finance International. “Whether Beijing will deliver on this exit from building coal-fired power plants depends on whether it introduces a time-bound exit which reins in all forms of support – finance and construction combined – for all its overseas coal and associated projects.”

The immediate impact is likely to be felt in the countries that rely most heavily on Chinese funding for new coal projects: Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In Vietnam, for example, the government recently announced plans for an additional 20GW of thermal power. “Those countries will need a rethink,” said Myllyvirta. “This announcement leaves several projects up in the air.” The governments in these nations will now have to decide whether to find alternative funding from the private sector, where the borrowing costs can be high – as Pakistan has recently found out – or whether to shift to renewables, which Xi has promised to support.

Despite the uncertainties over implementation, Myllyvirta said China’s announcement would accelerate decarbonisation. “Countries now know that going forward, there is no financing on the table for coal. That should clarify things a lot. Chinese delegates are going to visit Indonesia or Vietnam or Pakistan and they will be saying, ‘We don’t do coal any more, but we can help with clean energy.’ That will make a difference.”

Depending on implementation, other possible beneficiaries of this announcement could be the rhinos, giraffes, cheetahs and other endangered species at Zimbabwe’s Hwange national park, where two Chinese companies had hoped to extract the fossil fuel.

Another positive knock-on effect would be to push Japan to follow suit. The government in Tokyo has already taken steps in this direction but left a door open for financing by its private-sector institutions. Their geopolitical reason had been that they did not want to leave China as the only option for regional energy projects. With Xi’s announcement, they now have no excuse not to slam the door shut for good. Likewise for South Korea, formerly one of the world’s biggest coal backers, which has recently moved towards decarbonisation.

The UN secretary-general, António Guterres, said China’s promise was not just welcome but essential. “Accelerating the global phase-out of coal is the single most important step to keep the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement within reach,” he said. But he stressed this was not enough. At the forthcoming Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow, he said, all nations, especially the rich, need to be more ambitious in cutting carbon pollution. “Let us be reminded that based on the present emissions-reduction commitments of member states the world is on a catastrophic pathway to 2.7C of heating. We need decisive action by all countries, especially the G20, to go the extra mile and effectively contribute to emission reductions.”

Pressure will now increase on other countries and financial institutions to accelerate the shift. At the OECD, the US, the EU and a few other countries including South Korea now support a proposal to end official export-financing support for unabated coal power and associated facilities by 2021. However, several leading institutions, including Vanguard, BlackRock, Capital Group and Barclays, remain substantial funders of this fossil fuel.

With coal now seemingly in terminal decline, climate activists are turning their sights towards oil, gas, and domestic coal power in China and India. Since 2010, China has been the biggest consumer of energy in the world, overtaking the US.

Close to 58% of its power comes from the country’s 1,058 coal plants, almost half the total in the entire the world. This makes China far the biggest carbon emitter, pumping more than one out of every four gigatonnes that enter the atmosphere. Many regions of China have staked their future on coal, but roughly half the country’s plants will have to close if the government 2060 net-zero target is to be achieved.

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