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UN agrees to keep funding clean coal

The United Nations has agreed to maintain funding of coal power plants in developing countries.

The UN’s green climate fund (GCF) refused an explicit ban on fossil fuel projects at a contentious meeting in Songdo, South Korea.
United Nations
The rationale for the decision is it will help developing countries ultimately fight climate change as otherwise these nations will opt for more polluting coal-fired models.

Dr Andrew Minchener of the IEA Clean Coal Centre welcomed what his organisation has been urging as the most suitable and pragmatic approach to the funding situation, telling Power Engineering International: ”I am very pleased to see a further rejection of the World Bank and others blanket ban on support for clean coal technology. The provision of financial support for high-efficiency low emissions à‚ coal-fired power plants is an effective means to reduce the overall carbon intensity of the world’s coal power fleet, while also helping many people in developing countries to escape poverty”.

The IEA CCC’s Head of Communications, Debo Adams echoed her colleague’s remarks, telling PEi: “At this stage, the options are not clean coal or 100 per cent renewables, they are largely dirty coal without much help, or clean coal if support is given to cover the higher installation costs of more efficient plants with pollution control technologies.”

Japan designated $1bn in loans for coal plants in Indonesia as climate finance, according to reporting by the Associated Press. Last week Japan counted another $630m in loans for coal power plants in India and Bangladesh as climate finance.

“Japan is of the view that the promotion of high-efficiency coal-fired power plants is one of the realistic, pragmatic and effective approaches to cope with the issue of climate change,” Takako Ito, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, told AP.