Bad news for environmentalists in advance of the Paris Climate Conference: China is investing heavily in coal-fired power plants, the New York Times reports today.

The Obama administration has pushed forward with several new environmental regulations, considering the recently finalized Clean Power Plan the centerpiece. Though it will impose enormous expenses on American households and businesses, the Clean Power Plan’s environmental impact is small, as we detail in a new policy focus.

But President Obama and his allies have argued that such policies are critical bargaining tools that will prod the world’s largest carbon emitters into concessions. As evidence of the effectiveness of this strategy, the Obama administration offered the U.S.-China emissions deal last November.

Under that agreement, the U.S. will impose stringent carbon-emissions reductions over the next 15 years. China, in turn, says it will stop increasing emissions in 2030.

The New York Times report illustrates just how bad of a deal this is. In the past year alone, Beijing has issued permits for 155 separate coal-powered plants—“with total capacity equal to nearly 40 percent of that of operational coal power plants in the United States.”

The article continues:

[This development, as well as China’s construction boom] also raises questions about whether China is weaning itself off coal as quickly as it can and whether officials are sufficiently supporting nonfossil fuel sources over coal, which is championed by some state-owned enterprises. China is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world and the main driver of climate change, and has some of the worst air pollution.

… Provinces have an economic interest in keeping coal-fired power generation close to home, despite concerns over air pollution. Provincial state-owned enterprises running the plants have a guaranteed source of revenue. Also, officials can tax coalpower plants but not renewable-energy projects. And plant construction boosts economic growth, a key measure in evaluations of provincial officials.

Meanwhile, the United States—which is enjoying its lowest carbon emissions level in two decades—will enact regulations that will carry tens of billions in annual compliance costs, also resulting in double-digit electricity rate hikes in the United States.

Beijing’s diplomatic success is our loss.