by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In 2017, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a report praising China’s “truly impressive” shift away from coal. The report came after the liberal think tank’s energy experts met with Chinese government officials to “find out what is really happening” with the communist nation’s emissions trajectory. China’s leaders, those experts concluded, had made the “strategic choice” to crack down on coal-fired power and “grab the clean energy bull by the horns.”
Fast forward four years, and the opposite has occurred. In the months following CAP’s visit to China, the country began rapidly growing its coal power capacity as government officials prioritized economic growth over “intermittent and unstable” renewable energy sources. The think tank has since acknowledged this trend, debunking its own report—and the Chinese regime’s promises—in the process.
CAP often holds “staff research trips” to China to work with organizations in the country, including the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), a registered foreign agent backed by the Chinese Communist Party’s foreign influence arm. While the think tank says it has taken no money from CUSEF, the Chinese group paid CAP founder John Podesta nearly $900,000 to lobby Congress from 2015 to 2017 through his now-defunct public affairs firm, the Podesta Group.
Shortly after CAP released its report, Beijing repeatedly loosened its restrictions on coal projects from 2017 to 2019, sparking a mad dash to build new power plants. China’s coal consumption went on to reach a record high in 2020, and the expansion isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The nation is now in the process of constructing an additional 246 gigawatts of coal power—nearly six times Germany’s entire coal fleet, according to a Global Energy Monitor briefing. …
… CAP has extensive ties to the Biden administration. At least 61 of the think tank’s alumni are now working for the administration, according to a Business Insider analysis.