African countries are helping China go green. That may have a downside for Africans. (Washington Post – March 12, 2021)

The details of China’s new 5-year plan, released earlier this month, suggest China has put off the difficult steps necessary to become carbon neutral by 2060.

President Xi Jinping had announced that goal last fall, reflecting the Chinese Communist Party’s pursuit of “Ecological Civilization,” a vision of environmental sustainability both within and beyond China’s borders.

Achieving Ecological Civilization won’t be easy. China accounts for 28 percent of global carbon emissions. How will Beijing pursue this goal — and at what cost?

Most analyses of China’s energy transition have focused on wind, solar and hydroelectric energy. But China is also the world’s fastest-growing producer of nuclear energy. If Xi’s ambitious plans come to fruition, China will surpass the United States as the world’s largest nuclear energy producer by 2030.

Nuclear power plants, of course, require uranium. Uranium mining is associated with negative health effects for local communities and mine employees, as well as environmental costs. Who will pay them?

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