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.