News / 13 September 2013

Will EBRD cease coal funding?

Last June, President Obama called upon the national and international community to give no more public support to foreign coal. Shortly after this, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank EIB followed the example, setting stricter criteria for loans to energy companies, which will make it nuch more difficult, if not impossible for new coal plants to get financing from these banks. 

Increasing pressure, 16000 signatures
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which is one of the main institutions I focus on in my work, is still lagging behind in this respect. The Bank is currently reviewing its energy policy, but does not intend to exclude loans to polluting fossil fuels such as coal in a revised version. The pressure on the bank to stop financing new coal plants increases. This became clear in recent consultations on the new EBRD energy policy in Belgrade, Istanbul and Moscow. A petition urging the bank to step out of fossil fuels and invest more in renewable energy was supported by more than 16 thousand signatures and presented to the EBRD during the consultation in the Serbian capital.


Coalition against coal plants

Afterwards, we saw a small glimmer of hope: the EBRD announced to step out of the ‘Kolubara B project’: a controversial coal project in Serbia. The Bank seems to be stirred up internally. This was evident last week, when President Obama and the leaders of the Scandinavian countries and Iceland, stated that they will form a coalition against new public financing of coal plants. These major shareholders of the EBRD set a good example. Reading all this you sometimes think: when will the Netherlands start eliminating coal plants?


Huub Scheele

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