China’s role in driving sustainable finance

China’s role in driving sustainable finance

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xi jinping WED 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping at the World Economic Forum 2017 meeting. Delivering the opening address, Xi urged global leaders to stay in the Paris climate agreement, sparking speculation that China will lead the climate fight. Image:

Even amid the frenzy surrounding the inauguration of US president Donald Trump, the presence of a communist leader in one of the citadels of global capitalism was a noteworthy event.

The “Xi in Davos” story evolved quickly; from wry ruminations on the sheer novelty – and inherent irony – of it, leader-writers began to focus on his defence of globalisation and opined on a possible new era of Chinese economic leadership.

But a minority noticed another angle: the strong focus on environmental issues that underpinned the comments of many in the Chinese delegation.

The New York Times called it “unexpected”, while the Guardian speculated that China could “take ownership” of the “climate change fight”.

But among the English language heavyweights, only the Financial Times detailed just how much Beijing…