Asian Development Bank proposes to end financing of coal-fired power plants
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The Asian Development Bank will stop funding new coal-fired power plants under a draft energy policy released on Friday, which was cautiously greeted by environmental groups.
The AfDB, which provides loans and grants for projects in poorer countries in the Asia-Pacific region, said its current policy was “no longer properly aligned with the global consensus on climate change.”
“Coal and other fossil fuels have played an important role in energy access for the economic development of the region, but they have not solved the challenge of energy access, and their use harms the environment and accelerates climate change, ”the Manila-based bank said. in the document.
The lender will also no longer finance “the activities of exploration, drilling or extraction of coal, oil and natural gas deposits,” he said.
However, under certain conditions, it would provide funds for natural gas projects and “hybrid power solutions” involving fossil fuels as back-up systems, according to the project.
Between 2009 and 2019, the AfDB invested $ 42.5 billion in energy sector projects in Asia, where about 60% of electricity is produced by coal, according to its data.
The final version of the energy policy is expected to be submitted to the AfDB Board of Directors by October.
Earlier this week, US climate envoy John Kerry called on the AfDB to adopt a “more restrictive fossil fuel financing policy”, warning that island nations face a situation “beyond l ‘existential’ due to climate change.
While welcoming the AfDB’s policy proposal, Greenpeace said it was “long delayed and gradual”.
“Communities across Asia have struggled for decades to ask the AfDB to stop funding dirty energy,” Jasper Inventor, Greenpeace’s program director for Southeast Asia, said in a statement.
“Although this new policy hinders the financing of coal, it still opens the doors to the development of fossil gas.”
Hasan Mehedi, of the Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network in Bangladesh, said it was a “sweet victory”.
But he said the AfDB must “urgently eliminate fossil gas, energy waste and large hydropower projects to achieve the Paris target of staying below 1.5 degrees.”
The goal of controlling global warming to 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 at the AfDB’s annual meeting, Kerry called for an end to fossil fuel subsidies and financing of coal-fired power plants.
He warned that the 20 countries responsible for most of the world’s emissions “are not moving in the same direction” or are not fast enough to tackle warming.
AfDB President Masatsugu Asakawa told the same seminar that Asia-Pacific – which includes China, the world’s largest polluter – was responsible for around 50 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. tight.
As the coal, oil and gas market rebounds this year, he warned that more than 80% of the expected growth in demand for coal will come from Asia.
© 2021 AFP