Tendencias y Estudios / Convergencia y sostenibilidad

Chinese Multilateralism and the Promise of a Green Belt and Road

As China comes under increased scrutiny over its global energy investments, Chinese authorities have announced a series of multilateral initiatives to “green” its Belt and Road initiative (BRI). Of these, the BRI International Green Development Coalition and the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road Development show the most promise, yet they are in danger of failing to deliver on their stated goals.

As long as investors on the ground only need to follow host countries’ environmental standards and Belt and Road members can free ride on Chinese “green” initiatives, investment along the Belt and Road—particularly in new fossil fuel energy infrastructure—will undermine China’s political rhetoric and climate targets. While just recognizing the problem is a positive step for China, these initiatives are generally too voluntary to be effective, too duplicative to be adding value, and too opaque to be adequately assessed.