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Kenya’s First Coal Plant ‘Embodies Contradiction’ in China’s Climate Leadership

The project would be sited at Lamu, a 14th-century port town on the Indian Ocean that has been designated a world heritage site by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“I see no reason for them to do it,” said UN Environment Programme Executive Director Erik Solheim, noting that a coal-fired power plant is “much less viable” against the falling cost of renewables. “They should invest heavily in hydro, solar, wind. They are already, but they could do even more.”

But for all that it is willing to inherit the sole mantle of global climate leadership, with the U.S. government in the hands of fossil-funded climate deniers, the Lamu project shows that China has policy conflicts of its own. “The country’s huge coal sector is turning outward in search of new markets as coal projects contract at home,” the Times reports. “The project is among hundreds of coal-fired power plants that Chinese companies are helping to build or finance around the world.”

At the moment, the project is on hold, stalled by a November 2016 lawsuit before Kenya’s National Environmental Tribunal. “For now, no smokestacks tower over the baobabs; the only signs of construction are concrete discs that demarcate the forest and farmland acquired for the plant.” Read the full article here