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Germany will cut support for overseas coal plants

World Coal,

Germany plans to limit the financial support that the KfW state development bank can give to coal projects abroad, the environment ministry announced.

The move from Germany brings it in line with a number of other countries and financial institutions – such as the World Bank and European Investment Bank – that have said they will cut their support for coal power in the face of environmental concern in regard to global warming. A number of other countries, including Japan, are continuing to fund coal projects.

According to Reuters, critics of German energy policy argue that while Europe's biggest economy has embarked on a rapid expansion in renewable energy at home, it continues to support coal both domestically and abroad.

Germany's environment minister, Barbara Hendricks, will outline the tighter restrictions at next week's UN climate change summit in New York, a spokesman said.

"Government departments have agreed that the financing of coal projects by the KfW banking group should be limited in future," a ministry spokesman said.

From 2006 to 2013 KfW lent €2.8 billion to coal projects in countries from Greece to India, Serbia, South Africa and Australia.

"In future, financing for the construction and rehabilitation of coal plants will be completely ruled out and financing for the modernisation of operating coal plants will be limited and only available under clearly defined criteria," the minister's spokesman said.

The environment ministry's move was driven by the aim of limiting global warming to an agreed ceiling of 2°C and the need to decarbonise global energy supplies by the middle of the century.

KfW says that its support for coal has been dwarfed by its investments in environmental protection but that it has continued provide support to give energy access to countries that cannot move away from fossil fuels immediately.

The German government is also working towards an agreement with OECD countries to ensure export guarantees for coal technology are compatible with the goal of limiting climate change.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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