The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) announced Monday that it has approved its first loan in China for a natural gas project.
The 250-million-U.S. dollar loan will fund a project to connect 216,750 households in approximately 510 villages to the natural gas distribution network, according to an AIIB statement.
Upon completion and after subtracting the emissions from burning natural gas, the project is expected to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 595,700 tonnes, particulate matter by 3,700 tonnes, sulfur dioxide by 1,488 tonnes and nitrogen oxide by 4,442 tonnes, according to the statement.
AIIB President Jin Liqun said China's commitment to reducing its reliance on coal will change lives and improve the environment.
"That is why we are investing in a project aligned with their ambitious plan," Jin added.
He reaffirmed AIIB's "unwavering commitment" to helping members meet their environmental and development goals, especially their commitments under the Paris Agreement.
"It is only fitting that our first investment in China will introduce sustainable infrastructure that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help invigorate one of the most important economic hubs in Asia," Jin said.
The investment in the project also marks AIIB's first corporate loan. The project, undertaken by the Beijing Gas Group Company, will entail construction of natural gas distribution networks in villages and low-pressure gas pipelines and household connections. It is scheduled for completion in 2021.