On Tuesday, an alliance of 35 non-governmental organizations told Bank of China, a major global investor in coal- power plants, that it must end the financing of projects which fuel global warming and instead support clean and renewable energy.
In an open letter to Liu Liange, the chairman of China’s state-controlled central bank, the alliance said, China must stop funding coal-fired power stations overseas, as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. The letter was signed by groups from 13 countries in Asia, Africa and Europe.
China has responded saying it would respect the right of local communities to decide what sort of energy they required. Incidentally, the signatories include several organizations from Belt and Road countries, which indicates a growing opposition to coal in developing nations.
Since the coming into effect of the landmark Paris climate agreement in 2015, Bank of China’s total financing of coal-based power projects stands at more than $35 billion. This is the highest investment funding of any investor globally, and is clearly “out of step with China’s climate change ambition”, states the letter.
The development comes at a time when more than 130 financial institutions have decided to restrict financing fossil fuel projects.
Bank of China declined to comment on the letter.
At the end of August, BoC’ President Liu Jin had said, the bank would “gradually reduce” the share of total credit extended to coal projects during the 2021-2025 period, but would also issue more loans for technical upgrades in the sector.
Last week, a government advisory body also called on Beijing to “restrict and gradually stop” the use of public funds in overseas coal power investment, and urged the bank to make similar commitments.
According to research released by European think-tank E3G on Tuesday, 44 countries have already committed to “no new coal” projects, with 1,175 gigawatts of coal-power capacity cancelled since 2015.