2020 Urban Fellow
Research Topic: Climate Change and Air Pollution
Faculty Advisor: Robert Mendelsohn
The Effect of Foreign Investment on Asian Coal Power Plants
Asia has attracted billions of international investment in coal-fired power plants for the past 20 years. However, the impact of international investment on the environmental performance of coal power plants is far from clear. This paper investigates the aggregate effect of multiple forms of international investment on the CO2 emission intensity of Asia’s coal power plants. The findings suggest that internationally funded power plants are 3.7% more efficient than their domestic counterparts, with magnitude varying from 4.1% (from Korea) to 0.8% (from Russia). Technology upgrade explains 94.6% of the emission reduction effects, while the U.S. and Korea accelerate the promotion of clean coal resources as well. This paper proves that international investment drives down coal power’s CO2 emissions in Asia through various mechanisms and cooperation modes.