Japan Tops China as World’s Biggest Lender for Coal, Study Says

(Bloomberg) — Japan and China lent more than $35 billion
to finance coal power in the eight years through the end of
2014, according to environmental groups in a study that urged
countries to stop supporting the fuel.

Japan provided more than $20 billion, followed by $15
billion from China, according to the joint study by the Natural
Resources Defense Council
, Oil Change International and the
World Wide Fund for Nature.

South Korea and Germany each provided $7 billion, trailed
by the U.S. with $4 billion. The top five countries accounted
for more than 80 percent of the coal financing from the
countries reviewed by the groups.

“This government financing for coal – largely in the form
of export support, but also as development aid and general
finance – is perpetuating coal use and exacerbating climate
change,” the groups said in the report. “It needs to stop,
immediately.”

Japan Bank for International Cooperation was identified as
the top provider of financing, followed by the World Bank and
the Export-Import Bank of China, according to the report.

“Our support is in line with the Japanese government’s
policy to help build power plants of higher efficiency taking
into account the energy situations of each country,” Junsuke
Arita, a spokesman for JBIC, said by phone.

Energy Access

The research, which examined information about public
finance for coal in member countries of the Organization for
Economic Cooperation and Development as well as China and
Russia, largely focused on overseas financing, but also included
domestic projects financed by export credit agencies.

No export financing went to low-income countries in need of
access to energy supplies, according to the report. Recipients
included high-income countries like Australia and Chile.

“This rebuts the claim of some OECD governments that their
export finance support for coal benefits energy access for the
poor.”

Some bright spots exist, the groups said.

Some multilateral development banks and national
governments began adopting restrictions on international public
financing of coal in 2013 to tackle climate change. Among them
are the World Bank Group, the European Investment Bank, as well
as the governments of the U.S. and France, the report said.

A drop in financing last year likely reflected commitments
to stop investing in coal overseas by some countries and
institutions, according to the report.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Chisaki Watanabe in Tokyo at
cwatanabe5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jason Rogers at
jrogers73@bloomberg.net
Iain Wilson, Andrew Hobbs

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