Climate campaigners in the Philippines marked the Lunar New Year on Sunday, January 22, with a “protest dragon dance” in Manila’s Binondo district to call on the Chinese government to address the climate crisis and enable the “rapid, just, and equitable transition” to renewable energy.
The activist urged China to adopt two “New Year’s resolutions” — to stop financing all fossil fuel projects and to support the transition to renewable energy systems in developing countries.
“These are the two important actions for climate that China can make happen,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).
“It is time for a total shift away from public and commercial overseas energy financing of all fossil fuels — coal, gas and oil — and scale up sustainable, fair and non-debt creating financing for the rapid development of renewable energy systems in Asia,” said Nacpil in a statement.
She reminded China of the climate pledge President Xi Jinping two years ago and urged Xi to push forward with policy changes to phase out all coal investments and support more investments in renewable energy projects.
“China is in a position to provide critical leadership in the rapid development of renewable energy because of its status as a major global producer of solar and wind technologies,” said Nacpil.
On Sept. 21, 2021, Xi announced at the United Nations General Assembly that “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.”
China has been under heavy diplomatic pressure in recent years to end its overseas coal financing.
At the 20th Chinese Communist Party Congress in October, Xi said “China should actively and steadily accelerate the construction of a new energy system and actively participate in the global governance of climate change.”
Data show that in 2022, China’s expansions in solar and wind power have put it on track to hit 3,000 terawatt-hours of clean energy electricity generation — far more than any other country — and lifted the share of clean energy in China’s electricity mix to a national record of 31.9%.
“China having some of the highest solar and wind capacity in operation should lead in the technology transfer,” said Ian Rivera, coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.
“It has the potential to make renewable energy accessible to and affordable for people and communities in Asia,” added Rivera.