ADB proposes ending financing for coal plants

Prothom Alo

A coal-burning power plant can be seen behind a factory in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region

A coal-burning power plant can be seen behind a factory in China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region
Reuters File Photo

The Asian Development Bank will stop financing new coal power plants under a draft energy policy released Friday that was cautiously welcomed by environmental groups.

The ADB, which provides loans and grants for projects in the poorest countries in the Asia Pacific region, said its current policy was “no longer adequately aligned with the global consensus on climate change”.

“Coal and other fossil fuels have played a large part in ensuring access to energy for the region’s economic development, but they have not solved the energy access challenge, and their use harms the environment and accelerates climate change,” the Manila-based bank said in the document.

The lender will also no longer fund “any coal mining, oil and natural gas field exploration, drilling or extraction activities”, it said.

However, under certain conditions, it would provide funds for natural gas projects and “hybrid electricity solutions” involving fossil fuels as backup systems, according to the draft.

But he said the ADB must “urgently phase out fossil gas, waste to energy, and large hydro projects to achieve the Paris Goal of staying below 1.5 degrees”.

The goal of checking global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times was the aspiration set in the Paris Agreement to avoid the most severe effects of climate change.

Speaking at a seminar during the ADB’s annual meeting, Kerry called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and coal plant financing.

He warned the 20 countries responsible for most of the world’s emissions were not “moving in the same direction” or fast enough to tackle warming.

ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa told the same seminar that the Asia Pacific — which includes China, the world’s biggest polluter — was responsible for about 50 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

As the market for coal, oil and gas rebounds this year, he warned that more than 80 per cent of the expected growth in coal demand would be from Asia.

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