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France Ends Export of Coal Technologies

France Ends Export of Coal Technologies

On September 10th, 2015, the French government announced a new policy that would end the export of coal technology. As of November 2014, French President Hollande pledged that the country will end support for coal projects through their export credit agencies. By the end of 2015 before COP21 in Paris, the government officially announced that they would immediately withdraw its export credit support for all new coal power generation projects without CO2 capture and storage technology set in place. Prior to this, it was also announced that the government would no longer support Alstom’s (a major French heavy equipment manufacturer) export of coal power generation technology. Alstom manufacturers power generation turbines, remaining one of the top competitors in its industry. On September 8th, it got the permission from European Commission to sell gas turbines sector to the General Electric, an American company, to consolidate its business structure. Although the export of plants abroad represents a small market, this sector of Alstom, the major exporter, accounts for 5% of revenue. The Minister of the Ecology, however, suggested Alstom to invest in renewable energy instead of coal.

The French government should announce an end to their support for coal-fired power plants, which produce large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. As the host of COP21, the French government needs to send a strong message to the rest of the world.

On September 17th, 2015, the OECD’s (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) working group discussed the export of coal-fire power technologies. Many countries including the U.S. and England have proposed to suppress the coal power exports. Japan, however, still hasn’t budged. The country remains one of the few countries that continues to support coal exports.

France has made a strong step forward with its policy, the impact of which is sure to be great.

From 2007 to 2014, France actually put forth 1.64 million USD towards plans for new coal plants, which made it the 5th biggest subsidizer of coal energy exports.

On the other hand, in that same period, Japan stuck out like a sore thumb at 1st place with 16.83 billion USD, South Korea was 2nd at 7.09 billion USD and China was 3rd at 5.93 billion USD.

Japan continues to argue that they have the support of the public and that increasing the efficiency of coal-fired power generation technology in emerging countries (where demand for power is on the rise) is essential to fighting global warming. Among the OECD countries, however, Japan stands alone in their support for coal.

References:

France to scrap export credits to Alstom for coal technology – minister
Reuters (September 10, 2015)  (England)

Climat : l’exportation des centrales à charbon ne sera plus subventionnée (September 10,2015) Europe1 (French)

Aides à l’industrie du charbon : “Elles vont être supprimées pour Alstom” france info
(September 10,2015)  (Freanch)

France Ends Export Subsidies for Coal Before Climate Talks
The New York Times (September 10, 2015) (English)

The French government is ending export subsidies for building coal plants abroad, as the country tries to clean up its environmental reputation before hosting landmark U.N. climate talks.
France 24 (September 10, 2015) (English)

France ends coal subsidies for developing countries amid fears of COP 21 failure
EurActiv(September 11, 2015)(English)

More Information:

Japan and South Korea top list of biggest coal financiers よりExporting credit for coal
The guardian (June 2015, 2015) (English)