Old Diary

The climate stakes of China’s Belt and Road initiative

While the U.S. is ditzing around with an infantile President and an impotent Congress the rest of the world is moving forward.  China, which presents the world with new challenges every day is aggressively seeking to make friends with other countries.  Take a look at how things are shaping up via this piece from AXIOS.Com

The Chinese have been working on this “Belt and Road Initiative” since 2013. If you wonder what is significant about their aggressive liaison with emerging nations consider this:  The U.S. controls 24% of the global economy and China 15%.  But in 2000, the U.S. controlled 31% and China only 4%.  To borrow a colloquial term, the Chinese are eating our lunch. :-\

Do some research,  there are credible news media articles on the project if you take the time to look for them.

Infrastructure projects with Chinese involvement as of March 2017


Adapted from a Mercator Institute for China Studies map; Map: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Yale Environment 360 has a cautionary look at the emissions stakes of China’s Belt & Road initiative (BRI), the massive collection of infrastructure projects that spans several continents.

Why it matters: The multi-decade project formally launched in 2013 aims to project China’s economic interests through a network of infrastructure projects that include shipping ports, railways and highways, Isabel Hilton, writing for Yale Environment 360, argues: “BRI has the potential to transform economies in China’s partner countries. Yet it could also tip the world into catastrophic climate change.”

Where it stands: She notes that the project will “absorb massive amounts of concrete, steel, and chemicals, creating new power stations, mines, roads, railways, airports, and container ports, many in countries with poor environmental oversight.”

But her biggest focus is on the initiative’s connection to Chinese-backed plans to expand coal-fired power construction in other countries — even as it takes steps to curb domestic air pollution and carbon emissions.

The big picture: “China may be pursuing eco-civilization at home, but it urgently needs to address the global risks it is creating in the Belt and Road Initiative,” Hilton writes.



4 thoughts on “The climate stakes of China’s Belt and Road initiative

  1. Truth be told aggresive Chinese global expansion concerns me. Short sighted domestic regulations governing land use, agriculture, pesticides, sewage treatment, power plants and harmful chemicals used in manufacturing are a handful of reasons why China leads the world in polluting its domain. Accounting for almost 20% of world population, China has a lot of mouths to feed, domestic contamination of agricultural land raises serious food security concerns. Solution – calculated aquisition of foregn farmland, especially in Africa and South America. It works like this – China offers low cost loans, infrastructure financing and technical assistance condusive to development. Ultimately China takes control of valueable farmland and resources, products of which are shipped back to China. I’ll stop now to spare you a rant. Sigh.


    • We are in lockstep here Notes. There is a lot of info about The Belt & Road Initiative — and not many people seem to care. The rate of growth and the carelessness with which they view the environment are truly frightening.

      But then I try to be balanced and say to myself…. well, in our days of industrial development we in the U.S. were equally negligent about the economy. it was only after we had left “developing nation” status behind that we dared sacrifice “growth” for sustainability and even now our Capitalist roots are hard to kill — PROFIT is still king and whatever gets in the way is hard put to see the light of day much less gain enough support in the places needed to accomplish real change.

      The days of the U.S. as the leading world power are over. Most likely China already has the reins of that title and they won’t need military power to assert themselves. The rise in population is a critical factor for them, but then there have been solutions in the past provided by Momma Nature in the form of pandemics that have “adjusted” world population and I’m not ruling out the possibility in my thoughts. Once people trembled at Ebola, but it’s temporarily contained. There was the Bird flu, with similar results. Now we talk about Coronavirus and we shall yet see. The rise of drug resistant germs makes the day when human ability to fight off infection sees a global reckoning and many of the population related problems may very well be “solved” by a reduction in population accomplished by none other than nature.

      Bottom line is that this is a very fluid world but Western attention has always tended to be on itself as if to discount the rest of the globe and in an interconnected world discounting anyone is pretty dangerous.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The difference between China (and Russia) and western powers like America is how they view global advantage, dominance, positioning. The U.S. unabashedly declares itself the biggest, best and greatest social, economic and military power on Earth. Patriot hearts collectively burst with pride, assurance and conviction that is true. Meanwhile China quietly seizes control of land, agriculture, resources and transportation on a global scale. Truly astounding and unquestionably concerning. Sigh.


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