France to stop export credits for coal projects in developing countries

(Reuters, Paris 27 November 2014) France will eliminate export credits for energy projects in developing countries which involve coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, President Francois Hollande said on Thursday. The European Union is phasing out subsidies for domestic coal plants by 2018 in line with its efforts to take a global lead in the fight against climate change. But an EU policy paper seen by Reuters in June said European makers of coal-fired power plants such as France's Alstom should get financial help to export the equipment, flying in the face of environmental opposition to any form of subsidy for coal. "Eventually, subsidies to all fossil fuels should be phased out," Hollande said at France's annual environmental conference. "We are eliminating all export credits in the support that we give to developing countries whenever coal is used." The paper prepared by officials from the European Commission trade department before the new administration was sworn in said export credits, or preferential loans to help cover exports costs, should be continued for the most modern coal plant technology.