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China and international banks continue coal financing

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World Coal,

New research published by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) has highlighted that despite environmental, economic and the many other challenges facing coal, pockets of funders continue to finance additional coal-fired generation capacity in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Coal Power Finance in High-Impact Countries knowledge brief, part of SEforALL’s Energising Finance research series, analyses 18 countries with the largest electricity access gaps (i.e. high-impact countries) to identify those receiving finance for coal-fired power, the sources of this investment, its key drivers, and the risks attached.

From 2013 to 2019, US$42 billion was committed to grid-connected coal power plants in the 18 countries studied. Among them, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan received the majority of finance commitments to new coal plants, while in Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique, Malawi, Niger, and Tanzania all host active coal plant development.

International finance accounted for the majority of the US$42 billion, with Chinese financial institutions accounting for 40% of the total.

With South Korea and Japan recently announcing they will stop financing new coal plants overseas, China remains the last major source of international public coal finance not to have committed to ending finance for overseas coal plants.

Of course, China is not the only entity still financing coal. Commercial financial institutions worldwide continue to support coal power plant development indirectly, despite having implemented policies to exclude direct financing of new coal-fired generation assets. From 2016 to 2020, the 38 banks that exclude direct finance for coal-fired power plants have nonetheless provided over US$ 52 billion in finance to companies engaged in coal projects (Rainforest Action Network 2021).

The full knowledge brief is available here.

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