The coal industry is still getting enough funding to enable significant investments in the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel, according to a report from German campaign group Urgewald.
Almost half the 1,030 companies surveyed in the study are planning to develop new coal power plants, new coal mines or new coal transport infrastructure. Less than 5% of the firms on the Global Coal Exit List have announced a coal exit date, according to the report.
“As long as investors, banks and insurers … continue supporting the companies listed on the GCEL, it will be impossible to phase out coal in time,” said Heffa Schuecking, the director of Urgewald. “Ending support for all coal developers must become an immediate priority for financial institutions worldwide.”
The study shows that much of the rhetoric dedicated to addressing climate change isn’t reflected in the numbers. Meanwhile, coal prices have surged amid a global energy crisis that threatens to undermine commitment to cutting CO2 emissions. China this month ordered its banks to ramp up funding to coal and energy companies in an effort to ease a power crunch ahead of the winter.
The GCEL list covers the largest coal plant operators, defined as companies that get over 20% of their power or revenues from coal and companies that are planning to expand coal mining, coal power or coal infrastructure.
The Urgewald study comes less than a month before world leaders are due to gather in Glasgow, Scotland, to hold the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties. Talks are set to be shaped by the latest assessment by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which found that the planet is overheating at a more alarming pace than previously feared and that cutting greenhouse gas emissions is the only way to avert a climate catastrophe.
(By John Ainger)