International lenders turn away from coal

A series of announcements over the past several months has highlighted the degree to which investment in new coal-fired electric plants has dried up.  In June, the Obama administration announced that the US Export-Import Bank would no longer fund coal plants that lack carbon-capture technology (several administration initiatives are meant to spur demand for, and thus research investment in, this still-developing capacity).  In July, the World Bank announced it would fund new coal plants “only in rare circumstances,” to meet basic energy needs, while it would support retrofits, noting that “efficiency improvements at existing plants are among the most cost-effective means of reducing local and global environmental impacts of coal.”

And last fall, the European Investment Bank, the EU’s main lending arm, said it would also stop financing most coal power plants, in order to meet climate targets. “The vote to introduce an emissions performance standard represents a step-change in the EU’s fight against climate change and puts the bankers ahead of politicians in terms of tangible action,” said Ingrid Holmes, of environmental think tank E3G in a statement.

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Jim Cummings

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