The UK secretary of state, Edward Davey, has announced plans that will see the UK introduce strict limits in the financing of new overseas coal-fired power plants.
The country will restrict its support for coal projects abroad. Davey said the UK will now only support public financing of international coal-fired power plants “in rare circumstances.”
Davey noted in a written statement to parliament that investments in new coal-fired energy production would risk locking countries into high levels of carbon emissions.
Davey quoted figures that suggested global coal demand would need to fall by “45% from 2009 levels by 2050” in order to “avoid dangerous climate change.”
The move will be a blow for those advocates in the coal industry of continuing investment in coal, albeit with the proviso that there is also investment in clean coal technologies, such as CCS.
In a report by the IEA CCC, research suggested that improving the efficiencies of the large number of older coal-fired power plants operating around the world would give major savings in CO2 emissions together with significant other benefits.
At the recent Coaltrans world coal conference in Berlin, industry professionals explained passionately that if countries turn their backs on an energy source that is cheap and abundant, they are locking both themselves and the tax-payer into high energy prices and less bountiful power and electricity.
Although the move will restrict state involvement in the UK, there remains much private investment in coal, particularly from UK banks. In a recently released report, it was confirmed that three British banks are among the world’s biggest lenders to the coal industry.
The UK’s move follows in the steps of the US, which announced in October that it, too, would limit financing for coal-fired power plants abroad. Obama, however, did suggest support would be given “for the most efficient coal technology available in the world’s poorest countries, in cases where no other economically feasible alternative exists.”
Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson
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