New OECD coal financing restrictions represent weak progress

(Oil Change International, Washington, 22 October 2021) Today the OECD Export Credit Group announced new restrictions on its support for overseas coal projects. These restrictions build on the Coal-Fired Electricity Generation Sector Understanding that was negotiated in 2015 and went into effect 1 January 2017. That agreement prevented OECD-member export credit agencies (ECAs) from supporting coal-fired power plants that were less efficient unless they were in developing countries. Unfortunately, there were loopholes that allowed for continued support even for coal plants that did not meet these restrictions. Today’s restrictions would end ECA support for coal plants that do not have carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) equipment in place. Still some export of equipment for retrofitting plants with CCUS or reducing emissions will be allowed if lifetime and capacity of coal plants is not extended. The restrictions do not address export finance for coal mines and related infrastructure, nor oil and gas financing even if the latest IEA report shows that investments in new fossil fuel production need to end this year to limit warming to 1.5°C.