In a statement to Parliament yesterday, Energy Secretary Ed Davey said Britain would now only back the construction of coal plants abroad “in rare circumstances”.
He said that while “energy infrastructure investment is critical to economic growth and poverty reduction in many developing countries… investments in new coal-fired energy production risk locking countries in to higher levels of carbon emissions over the coming decades”.
“Globally we need to rapidly move away from unabated coal power generation. That is why we are calling for an end to supporting public financing of new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances.”
The UK will now only consider proposals from multilateral development banks for financing coal plants “in the world’s poorest countries where no other economically feasible alternative exists”.
Further criteria would include that there is “a compelling poverty reduction case, full consideration has been given to the economic feasibility of low carbon alternatives, and it is part of a credible low carbon development pathway, and meets environmental and social standards.”
The UK’s stance brings it into line with the US, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, which this year issued similar statements, as did the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.