Australian government resists US moves against ECA support for coal power

(Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 26 March 2015) The Abbott government has again put itself on a collision course with US President Barack Obama, this time over government funding for coal-fired power plants. After adopting a contrary position to the US on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, about which a final decision is expected within days, the Abbott government has been leading international resistance to White House moves to strip back subsidies for fossil fuels. A leaked briefing paper, obtained by Fairfax Media, shows the government is using an international forum to frustrate efforts by the US, the United Kingdom and France to wind back export subsidies for new but environmentally harmful coal stations in third world countries. At OECD talks this month, Australian officials were instructed to oppose moves within the OECD's export credit group to curb government financial assistance for coal plants.