Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

UK Announces End of Public Financing for Coal

UK Announces End of Public Financing for Coal

By Justin Guay

First it was President Obama, standing before the American people at Georgetown University in June, telling us that it was time to act on climate. As one of the pillars of the climate action plan, President Obama pledged to end public financing for coal projects overseas, except in very specific situations. This was later backed up by a declaration by the Treasury Department.

Echoing bans from the U.S. and others, today, UK climate secretary Ed Davey announced the UK would end international financing for coal projects.

Next, five Nordic countries came out with a similar plan, calling for an end to throwing money away on dangerous coal projects.

Multilateral development banks were the next to announce that they would no longer be investing in coal projects overseas. The World Bank released its new energy strategy, and and then the European Investment Bank piggybacked. Just like dominoes, public support for coal has been falling all across the world.

And today UK’s public financing for coal is the next domino to teeter over.

At the Warsaw Climate Change Conference (COP 19) this morning, UK climate secretary Ed Davey announced that the UK would end international financing for coal projects except in exceptional circumstances.

“Despite the coal industry’s best efforts, there is a growing, global consensus to stop wasting public money on dirty coal that sickens communities, pollutes our air and water, and threatens our children’s future," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. 

This is a bad sign for coal but a great sign for our health, our climate and our planet. Burning coal emits toxic pollution into the air that leads to health problems like asthma and cancer. It also releases toxic mercury that rains down onto rivers and streams and contaminates the fish that we eat. Coal burning is also responsible for nearly one-third of U.S. carbon emissions—the air pollution that is the main contributor to climate disruption.

Finally, this reality is catching on. Governments and financial institutions are facing the reality that coal kills, and our future and our children's future depend on transitioning away from the dirty and dangerous fuel.

The UK’s banking arm, the Export Finance department has approved over $100 million for coal projects since Oct. 2011, according to the department's own annual reports. Those have all been in the form of coal mining projects in Russia. This new announcement would not only halt the funding for these projects, but it would also prevent any future investment in similar projects, aside from exceptional circumstances.

This is worth celebrating, and it’s not the last domino to fall. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, another multilateral development bank, should be the next to change its energy strategy and cut off spending on dangerous coal projects. It has become clear that coal is not a sound or safe investment, and finally we’re putting our money where our mouth is.

Visit EcoWatch’s COAL page for more related news on this topic.

A 3-hour special film by EarthxTV calls for protection of the Amazon and its indigenous populations. EarthxTV.org

To save the planet, we must save the Amazon rainforest. To save the rainforest, we must save its indigenous peoples. And to do that, we must demarcate their land.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres delivers a video speech at the high-level meeting of the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC in Geneva, Switzerland on Feb. 22, 2021. Xinhua / Zhang Cheng via Getty Images

By Anke Rasper

"Today's interim report from the UNFCCC is a red alert for our planet," said UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

The report, released Friday, looks at the national climate efforts of 75 states that have already submitted their updated "nationally determined contributions," or NDCs. The countries included in the report are responsible for about 30% of the world's global greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

New Delhi's smog is particularly thick, increasing the risk of vehicle accidents. SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP via Getty Images

India's New Delhi has been called the "world air pollution capital" for its high concentrations of particulate matter that make it harder for its residents to breathe and see. But one thing has puzzled scientists, according to The Guardian. Why does New Delhi see more blinding smogs than other polluted Asian cities, such as Beijing?

Read More Show Less
A bridge over the Delaware river connects New Hope, Pennsylvania with Lambertville, New Jersey. Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

In a historic move, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) voted Thursday to ban hydraulic fracking in the region. The ban was supported by all four basin states — New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York — putting a permanent end to hydraulic fracking for natural gas along the 13,539-square-mile basin, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Read More Show Less
Woodpecker

Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.

Read More Show Less