Rich countries sweep billions in public finance for coal under the rug as climate deadlines loom

Rich countries sweep billions in public finance for coal under the rug as climate deadlines loom

Over the last eight years, while climate impacts accelerate, country governments have channelled more than US$ 73 billion of public money into coal projects. The finance, which amounts to US$9 billion a year, is causing as much pollution as the nation of Italy, reveals “Under the Rug: How Governments and International Institutions Are Hiding Billions in Support to the Coal Industry”, a new report launched today by WWF, Natural Resources Defense Council and Oil Change International.

“Many developed country governments that push for ambitious climate action are simultaneously funding coal abroad. They cannot do both and be credible”, said WWF’s Global Climate and Energy initiative leader Samantha Smith. “It is time for rich nations to put their money behind the solutions, like renewable energy, rather than using taxpayers’ money to fuel climate change.”

International public finance for coal between 2007 and 2014, the report reveals, is responsible for as much pollution as Italy – the country with the 20th highest amount of emissions globally- , causing total greenhouse gas emissions amounting to almost half a billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

In that period, Japan provided the largest amount of coal financing of any country, with over US$20 billion of finance. In the OECD club – whose official Export Credit Agencies provide nearly half of the total international finance for coal – Korea and Germany were the next largest sources of funding for coal.

The remainder of public finance for coal comes from Chinese and Russian public finance institutions (23 percent) and Multilateral Development Banks (22 percent).

Contradicting the claim that export finance for coal is necessary to fight energy poverty in poor countries, the report clearly shows that zero export finance for coal has gone to Low Income Countries, where the need for energy access is greatest, whilst one-fourth went to High Income Countries with no every poverty concerns.

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Schermata 2015-06-23 alle 17.18.51Schermata 2015-06-23 alle 17.19.43

Source: WWF European Policy Office

Date: June 2015

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