A general view shows a coal-burning power station at night in Xiangfan, Hubei province, September 15, 2009.

Ever since U.S. President Donald Trump became president, China has taken every opportunity to present itself as a new global leader on climate change. Most recently, President Xi Jinping convened official delegates from more than 50 countries for the inaugural Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in May, and got 29 heads of state to join him in declaring support for the implementation of the Paris agreement, a feat that proved too challenging for G7 leaders to repeat weeks later in Italy.

First revealed in 2013, Beijing’s ambitious One Belt, One Road initiative (recently rebranded as the Belt Road Initiative or BRI) promises nearly $1 trillion for infrastructure and energy development in more than 60 countries. Given that China is the world’s largest producer of solar panels, wind turbines, and batteries, the BRI would seem a natural complement to the country’s averred commitment to climate action.

But Beijing’s foreign energy

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  • SAGATOM SAHA is Research Associate for Energy and U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.
  • THERESA LOU is Research Associate in International Institutions and Global Governance at the Council on Foreign Relations.
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