Great progress is being made in eliminating coal financing and the pressure is on for international financial institutes to adopt stricter regulations for coal financing. In 2013, one by one, governments and international financial institutes took a stand. U.S. President Obama presented his Climate Action Plan in June 2013 which was soon followed by the EIB and the World Bank.
Last year in December 2013, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have declared that they will limit their coal financing. Similar to other financial institutions, the EBRD announced that they will only finance coal generation in “rare and exceptional circumstances”. A couple days later, the US Ex-Im Bank also announced its revision of its guidelines which states that coal-fired power plants must use carbon capture and storage technology but would “provide flexibility” in poorer countries. Both financial institutes have been giants in terms of financing coal projects around the world. In a paper by the WRI, public international financiers of coal-fired power plants were ranked side by side. Both the US Ex-Im Bank and the EBRD ranked high on the list (at #4 and #10 respectively) with a combined total of over 4 billion USD in coal financing.
Just months earlier in May, the chief of the EBRD, Riccardo Puliti warned Europe against an “ideological” policy on coal financing. He argued that other considerations need to be taken into account. But requests by European green groups to revise its position, now it seems the tides have turned, at least at the EBRD and select financial institutes. However, Japanese financial institute, JBIC, is the leading coal financier according to both the WRI as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council. Preliminary data from the NRDC shows that JBIC alone invested an astounding 11.9 billion USD from 2007 to 2013. However, the EBRD’s change of heart, one of the biggest banks in Europe, gives hope to those waiting for other countries like Japan to follow their lead.
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development: the EBRD’s energy strategy and the switch from coal, December 10th, 2013.
Bankwatch Network: Leading green NGOs in Europe tell the EBRD to step out of coal, September 30th, 2013
The US Export-Import Bank: Export-Import Bank board adopts revised environmental guidelines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, December 12th, 2013
Huffington Post: Another International Lender Pledges No More Coal, December 13th, 2013
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development