WWF: World's largest public financial institution commits to phase out funding for coal power plants

WWF said that it was now time for other financial institutions to follow their lead and shape the world's shift to sustainable energy sources © WWF-Canon / Chris Martin BAHRYesterday WWF gave a cautious welcome to the move by the European Investment Bank (EIB) [1], the world's largest public financial institution, to adopt measures which, if implemented properly [2], should phase out its support for coal and lignite power plants.

After the World Bank's historic decision decided last week to limit funding for coal power plants to "only rare circumstances", the EIB has followed suit: WWF said that it was now time for other financial institutions to follow their lead and shape the world's shift to sustainable energy sources.

Sebastien Godinot, economist at WWF's European Policy Office, said: "The move by the EIB is very welcome but more needs to be done. To have a serious chance at staying within the 2°C climate change limit in Europe by 2050, the EIB should strengthen its standards and eventually phase out its support for all power supply based on fossil fuels.

"Coal is the dirtiest of fossil fuel power sources - polluting local environments, impacting on people's health and contributing heavily to climate change. It is now time for all international Financial Institutions and especially the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development [3], to follow the EIB's example, and to clean up their acts too."

Jason Anderson, head of climate and energy policy at WWF European Policy Office, said: "The European Commission is now busy making proposals for a European Climate and Policy Framework for 2030. Alongside binding targets for greenhouse gases, renewable energy and energy savings the Commission should follow the EIB's approach and ensure we don't move backwards instead of forwards, by proposing an emissions performance standard on power plants in the EU."

WWF also calls on the EIB to decrease the level of the emissions cap for fossil fuel power plants that can be eligible for funding in the coming years. It also needs to set measurable financing targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy support – as a way of sending a clear and strong signal to both investors and the industry.

Seize Your Power, WWF's new global campaign

WWF's new global campaign, Seize Your Power, calls on financial institutions to significantly increase their funding of renewable energy and cut funding to fossil fuels because we recognise that the level of CO2 emissions in the world requires drastic action to limit global warming.

ENDS

Note to the editors:

[1] The European Investment Bank is by far the biggest public bank in the world, lending a huge €12 billion to the energy sector every year.

[2] Two exemptions to the EIB's coal phase out have been introduced by the EIB yesterday. However the EIB's board required to clarify these exemptions in order to ensure a stringent implementation of the phase out.

[3] Tomorrow (25 July), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), another major European public bank, will present its new energy strategy at a kick-off event in London. This strategy is planned for adoption in October.

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