U.S., Europe at OECD Seek to End Export Financing for Coal

(Wall Street Journal, Paris, 14 September 2021) The U.S., the European Union, South Korea and other wealthy nations are moving to forbid their export-financing agencies from supporting coal-fired power projects overseas, in an effort to end government support for a fuel that is one of the world’s biggest sources of greenhouse gases. The proposed ban, which will be made this week at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, is part of the West’s campaign to push China, India and other big developing countries to take a tough position against coal ahead of the November climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland. China and India have resisted entreaties by the U.S. and Europe to commit to end subsidies for coal-fired electricity, raising fears that deadlock over the issue could result in the collapse of climate negotiations in Glasgow. The OECD, a Paris-based organization of 38 developing and developed economies, oversees an agreement governing export-credit agencies, which provide financing for overseas customers of the countries’ domestic companies. The U.S., the 27 nations of the EU, the U.K., Norway, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand and Turkey are signatories of the deal. In other news the US Treasury has instructed representatives at multilateral development banks to support clean energy projects over fossil fuels, putting the fate of several gas projects in the balance. Interestingly no news could be found on the OECD website today on the results of the OECD coal negotiations on September 15-16. The OECD web site divulges no results at all for searches re export credit and their ECA work page is burried very deep in their site map and shows no postings since September 8th. Indications are that there were differences over the definition of "unabated coal fired plants" to be banned, whether to include gas and mining or transport of coal. Further meetings are planned for October 12th and 20th. As world leaders met for a high level dialogue on energy at the UN in New York, 200 green groups urged them to embrace renewables and stop financing all fossil fuels.