Tighter Standards by Governments and International Financial Institutions
February 12th, 2014: ADB to Lend $900 million USD to Pakistani Coal Plant
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) signs an agreement to provide $900 million USD to fund the completion of the 600MW supercritical Jamshoro coal power project. ADB Vice President Wencai Zhang stated that through the Jamshoro plant, Pakistanis will have more access to cheap energy and reduce the country’s dependency on oil imports. The coal power plant, which is set to use imported sub-bituminous coal as well as domestic lignite (when available), is expected to be complete by December 2018. The total cost of the project will come to an approximate 1.5 billion USD. The Islamic Development Bank and the Pakistani government will contribute 220 million USD and 380 million USD respectively.
December 12th, 2013: The US Ex-Im Bank Sets New Guidelines for Carbon Projects
The US Export-Import Bank revises its environmental procedures and guidelines for high-carbon intensity projects. This puts the bank in alignment with US President Obama’s Climate Action Plan goal of reducing pollution caused by CO2 emissions. These new guidelines require the application of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology for future coal financing. However, the bank states that they would “provide flexibility” to meet the energy needs of the poorest countries.
December 10th, 2013: The EBRD Announces Limitations on Coal Financing
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announces they will limit coal financing. However, the bank recognizes the need to support coal-fired power plant projects in “rare in exceptional circumstances” where they will support infrastructures that use the best available techniques to ensure the lowest possible carbon intensity.
September 20th, 2013: EPA Proposes Stricter Regulations for New Coal Plants
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces their proposed Clean Air Act standards for coal-fired power plants as a way to fight climate change and improve public health. These standards are a part of US President Obama’s Climate Action Plan goal of reducing CO2 emissions. EPA’s proposed standards include an approximately 500 g/kWh (1,100g/MWh) CO2 emissions standard for new coal-fired power plants which ensures that new plants will utilize not only the cleanest technology available but also CCS.
September 4th, 2013: US and Nordics Release Statement to Fight Climate Change
The U.S. and the 5 Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden) release a joint statement that includes a shared goal of fighting climate change. As part of the commitment, the Nordic countries will join the US in “ending public financing for coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances”. In addition, they will work together in gaining the support of other countries and multilateral development banks to follow similar policies.
July 25rd, 2013: EIB Revises Standards for Coal Power Plants
The European Investment Bank (EIB) released a set of revised criteria for energy products entitled “EIB and Energy: Energy Lending Criteria” which is directed towards having stronger measures against climate change. Included is a CO2 emissions restriction of 550g/kWh for thermal power plants for both EU and foreign projects. This standard eliminates all coal-fired power plants except those that use biomass co-firing technology or CCS.
July 18th, 2013: US Ex-Im Bank Suspends Funding for Thai Binh 2 Coal Plant
The board of the US Export-Import Bank decided to suspend financing of the Thai Binh 2 Thermal Power Plant in Vietnam. A major concern of the 1,200MW power plant is its potential CO2 emissions. This is the first instance of US President Obama’s Climate Action Plan being put into action. Environmental groups had submitted a letter to US President Obama arguing that the plant goes against the President’s Climate Action Plan as well as the Ex-Im Bank’s environmental policies.
July 6th, 2013: World Bank Limits Coal Financing
The World Bank releases its paper entitled “Toward a Sustainable Energy Future for All” in which the bank states that it will provide funding for “greenfield coal power generation projects only in rare circumstances.” This includes cases where there are no feasible alternatives besides coal; these projects would be under the World Bank’s “Operational Guideline for World Bank Groups Staff “Criteria for Screening Coal Projects under the Strategic Framework for Development and Climate Change” which was published in 2010.
June 25th, 2013: US President Obama Announces “Climate Action Plan “
US President Barack Obama announces his Climate Action Plan (The President’s Climate Action Plan) which emphasizes a reduction in CO2 emissions, lowering energy consumption and the promotion of alternative fuels. He states that through the Environmental Protection Agency, the US will set stricter regulations on CO2 emissions for existing as well as new coal-fired power plants. He calls on other nations and international financial institutions to take similar measures. In the case of the poorest countries that lack economically feasible alternatives, exceptions will be made.
Statements by the Science Community:
November 18th, 2013: 27 Scientists Rebut “high efficient coal” claim
27 scientists from around the world, renounce this claim saying that “New unabated coal is not compatible with keeping global warming below 2 °C ”.
Movements to End Coal Financing by NGOs and Civil Society Groups:
Indonesia: The Batang Coal-Fired Power Plant (2011)
Greenpeace Indonesia with the co-operation of locals have been heavily involved with the Batang coal-fired power plant project (Fact Sheet.doc) which is the focus of our JBIC No Coal! Go Green! Project. Since the coal-fired power plant was first announced in 2011, concerned locals and NGOs have been voicing their concern. In 2013, a group of protesters gathered in front of the Japanese Embassy in Jakarta and delivered a message to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to stop the 2,000 MW power plant project. Following this incident, local military and police violently suppressed protesters, resulting in several injuries.
Bosnia and Herzegovina: Tuzla 7 coal-fired power plant (2012-)
The proposed 450MW coal-fired power plant is set to be built on the Tuzla power plant site and will cost approximately $1.14 billion USD. A Chinese consortium (including China Gezhouba Group Corporation) and Japan’s Hitachi are the final remaining bidders. CEE Bankwatch Network and local NGOs such as the Center for Environment, Bosnia and Herzegovina are involved to try to discourage financing for this project.
Croatia: Protests to the Plomin C Coal-Fired Power Plant Plan (2012-)
Since October, 2012, BankWatch, NGOs Zelena Akcija (member of Friends of the Earth Network) and Green Istria along with locals have been battling the Croatian court over a coal-fired power plant in Labin, Croatia called Plomin C. Arguments against the plant include accusations that the project is illegal according to the county’s spatial plan as well as the potential environmental and health risks should the plant be built. Greenpeace Croatia joined in and placed 680 silhouettes on the proposed site to indicate the estimated number of premature deaths that would occur over the lifetime of the proposed plant.
Kosovo: Civil Society’s reactions to the Unit 6, coal-fired 600MW coal-fired power station to replace Kosovo A (2013-)
The Kosovo Civil Society Consortium wrote to US Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to pressure the World Bank to withdraw funding for a new lignite coal-fired power plant in Kosovo (Kosovo groups ask for U.S. help to stop coal-fired power project) . This new 600MW plant with a price tag of 2 billion USD is set to replace the Kosovo A unit, which will retire in 2017. The World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are still on the fence about financing this project even though both financial institutions set stricter regulations for coal-fired power plants (A Lesson for Dr. Kim and the World Bank as It Ponders the Kosovo Coal Project).