Index for February 2014

Volume , Issue

  • France Must End Public Financing of Coal

    (Friends of the Earth France, Paris 10 February 2014) Tomorrow French President Francois Hollande will meet US President Barack Obama. Last year, Mr Obama announced the end of US public financing for new coal-fired power plants overseas, he now wants other developed countries to follow suit. In September 2013, the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden signed an agreement with the US accepting this challenge. Environmentalists want Mr Hollande to use his US visit to show that France is ready to be part of this group and commit to end all French public support to coal. France has already pledged to stop coal financing through its development agency. Now Friends of the Earth is urging President Hollande and his government to finish the job and end support for coal-fired power plants via its export credit agency and the various multilateral development banks in which it plays a significant role. This decision is vital if France is to retain its credibility as a true leader on climate change and host of the international climate negotiations, which will take place in Paris in 2015. Indeed, Mr Hollande and Mr Obama have issued a call for other nations to join them in seeking an "ambitious" agreement to tackle climate change in a joint article published in Le Monde and the Washington Post this morning. Both must now back up their words with stronger and faster actions to cut emissions, and President Hollande can make an important step by phasing out public finance for new coal.

Volume 13, Issue 2

  • (Project Syndicate, Davos, 24 January 2014) There is no bailout option for the earth’s climate. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January, Gurria noted "Our planet is warming dangerously. And, as the 2013 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change makes clear, our carbon-dioxide emissions over the past half-century are extremely likely to be to blame. A more robust approach to global warming is needed if we are to avoid catastrophe. Unlike the recent financial crisis... This is why I am calling on all governments to be more ambitious – to aim for zero net emissions from fossil fuels by the second half of this century. Nothing short of a wholesale transformation of the energy economy will suffice. ECA Watch and many CSOs wrote the OECD Export Credit Working Group in September 2013 urging OECD Export Credit Agencies to discontinue their financing of coal projects.

  • Friends of the Earth France urges Hollande to join Obama in cutting public coal financing

    Friends of the Earth France has urged President Hollande and his government to end French support for coal-fired power plants via its export credit agency Coface and the various multilateral development banks in which it plays a significant role. US President Obama also vowed to press France on ending public financing of coal-fired power plants overseas except in the poorest of countries, in his meeting with Hollande on February 11th. It is understood that following their meeting, President Hollande refused to issue a joint public announcement of French/US agreement on moving away from coal financing.

  • (Business Standard, Mumbai, 20 February 2014) India's Reliance Industries (RIL) is in talks with four or five export credit agencies (ECA) to raise over $1 billion (Rs 6,220 crore) in the next four months, which will give it the largest number of ECA relationships globally. This is a part of the company’s plan to raise $13 billion debt to fund expansion of its petrochemical production capacity and gasification project for its refining facilities to improve margins... In the past two years the company has already tied up over $10 billion of foreign currency financing for this purpose. While about half of this is ECA backed financing backed by six ECAs, rest is from syndicated loans and foreign currency bonds. After tying up all its ECA facilities with another 4-5 ECA’s for an additional amount of $1 billion, RIL will have the largest number of ECA relationships globally. This would appear to mark an interesting trend whereby large multinational enteprises from emerging market countries secure ECA finance via their suppliers in industrialised countries.

  • (Seattle Times, Washington, 6 February 2014) The U.S. government export credit agency says it's ready to provide financing for American companies exporting to former pariah nation Myanmar... The Export-Import Bank made the announcement Thursday, saying it would help improve trade flows between the U.S. and the country also known as Burma and help reintegrate it into the global economy.

  • (fibre2fashion, Gujarat, 11 February 2014) The Brazilian Ministry of Finance has launched export credit insurance for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), including textile and apparel enterprises in the country, in order to encourage entrepreneurs to increase exports. According to a statement issued by Brazilian Government, the companies eligible to avail the export credit insurance are those with annual revenues of up to US$ 90 million and exports products worth US$ 1 million. The insurance will be granted on the export of goods and services with the marketing term financing of up to two years operations. The Brazilian Government's goal is to reach $1 billion in guarantees per year by 2018 through this tool. According to the Ministry, the lack of guarantees is a limitation for these MSMEs, including textile and apparel, to access public and private funding, and with this insurance the Government aims to facilitate exports of various products, including textiles and apparel, from the MSMEs.

  • (ECA Watch Austria, Vienna, 21 February 2014) On February 20th, the Austrian company Andritz received the “Eyesore of the Year 2013” award for its involvement in three dam projects with tremendous negative ecological and human rights impacts: Xayaburi in Laos, Belo Monte in Brazil as well as Ilisu in Turkey. At the beginning of the week the company signed contracts for yet another disastrous mega-project: a gigantic pulp mill in the middle of Sumatra's rainforests. This new project involvement underlines the reasons for Andritz receiving this award, as it continuously takes part in some of the worst projects in the world... Andritz has received export guarantees from Austria's export credit agency OeKB and when an Asia Pulp & Paper project suffered a financial collapse some years later, Austrian tax payers lost more than EUR40 million... In November 2012 ECA Watch Austria and Friends of the Earth Austria sent a letter to Andritz expressing concern about APP's track record and offered a meeting with NGO representatives from Indonesia. Despite several attempts at contact, Andritz never reacted to this invitation.

  • (Cape Cod Online, 26 February 2014) Cape Wind announced February 26th that a Danish credit agency has approved a $600 million loan for the proposed Nantucket Sound wind farm. Speaking at the GreenPower USA Offshore Wind Conference in Boston Cape Wind CEO Gordon said that EKF, the Danish Export Credit Agency, had informed Cape Wind of the loan's approval pending the “finalization of due diligence and completion of loan documentation.” Cape Wind, however, still faces a handful of legal challenges. Opponents filed the latest lawsuit challenging the project in January, only a day before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., denied a petition by wind-farm opponents appealing the Federal Aviation Administration's approval of the project. A decision on whether Cape Wind will receive a $500 million U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee is pending. Energy Department officials have so far declined to comment on the status of the loan.