Energy and climate change minister Ed Davey has announced that the UK will join the US and stop public financing for coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances.
Davey said it was “completely illogical” to decarbonise our own economy and power sector whilst financing the industry in other countries.
He added, “It undermines global efforts to prevent dangerous climate change and stores up a future financial time bomb for those countries who would have to undo their reliance on coal-fired generation in the decades ahead, as we are having to do today.”
Whilst the decision has been welcomed, many are urging the minister to go further.
Hannah Griffiths, head of campaigns and policy at the World Development Movement, said, “Until we can cure the private finance sector of its coal addiction, coal will carry on cooking the planet thanks to UK money.
“Ed Davey must not forget that the UK government should also act to stop UK private finance supporting coal – regulating the finance sector is our only hope of keeping coal in the ground.”
A report released earlier this week showed that UK banks are the biggest European financers of coal. Four UK banks featured in the top 20 global financers of the industry.
Together RBS, Barclays, HSBC and Standard Charter are estimated to have financed the coal industry with €13 million (£10 million) between 2005 and 2013.
Friends of the Earth also stated that Ed Davey should stop backing gas and oil in the UK. The organisation said ministers should act by “ending tax-breaks for gas and oil, developing comprehensive energy efficiency programmes and harnessing the nation’s huge renewable power potential.”
Ed Davey also spoke about the need for all nations to leave the climate talks in Warsaw with a clear political understanding about the new global deal that will be agreed in 2015.
He said, “No one should leave this conference without a clear understanding and agreement that from here, we must make sure that when we arrive in Paris in 2015 we are ready to strike a deal.
“The UK will be working as part of the EU, to gain momentum for a deal with a push for 50% reduction in European emissions. But we will need to see similar ambitions and commitment from other developed and emerging partners before we can sign.”
The UN climate talks got underway on November 11 and will continue until November 22 , having covered a variety of issues. Earlier this week the UN climate chief spoke out about the coal industry saying it must change “rapidly and drastically for everyone’s sake”.
Some of the key issues being discussed are whether rich countries, which have contributed the most to climate change, should compensate disaster-struck developing nations and the need for a ‘loss and damage’ system to make developed countries act faster on the adaption and mitigation of climate change.