Despite China’s pledge to make Belt and Road Initiative environmentally friendly, critics raise concern on effective implementation

Author: Radio Free Asia (US), Published on: 4 August 2019

“After Complaints, China Moves to Make Belt And Road Plan Greener”, 2 Aug 2019

In a positive development, China has pledged at the highest level to make its massive Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) friendlier to the environment…

… the environmental impact sometimes gets overlooked. In an address delivered in late April this year, China’s President Xi Jinping stressed a commitment to the BRI’s environmental sustainability…

Six months ago this commentator reported that scientists and environmentalists at a research center in Portugal were warning that the global infrastructure initiative could cause permanent environmental damage unless it’s carefully handled. They argued that the exploitation of oil and gas reserves throughout the BRI would mean an increased dependence on fossil fuel and high greenhouse gas emissions.

Problems in monitoring the BRI’s implementation could arise, meanwhile, from a lack of transparency among some of the Chinese banks and state-owned companies which are charged with financing and then building and servicing much of the infrastructure.

Another concern in some countries has been the use of Chinese workers to the exclusion of local workers to carry out the construction work and other tasks involved…

It appears that President Xi Jinping has become aware of many of the complaints about the BRI. Representatives of the 37 countries who attended the Beijing Forum in April no doubt politely informed him of some of the complaints, which have brought pushback from some of these leaders’ own citizens…

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