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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Netherlands Joins Bid to End Financing for Coal-Fired Plants to Spur Green Growth Investment

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NetherlandsPhotoJasperJuinenBloomberg

The Netherlands joined an initiative of the U.S. and several other nations for a pledge to end the public financing of new coal-fired power plants overseas, as the Dutch prime minister joined with President Barack Obama in reaffirming both nations' commitment to addressing climate change.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, speaking in Amsterdam with Obama, said his nation would join with the U.S., the U.K., Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden in ending public financing for any new coal-fired power plants overseas except in rare conditions when other technological options are not available.

“The Netherlands is joining with the United States and a group of other countries in a bid to stop international public funding of new coal-fired power plants, for example, by multilateral development banks,” Rutte said. “We want to achieve an international level playing field to ensure that private and public parties invest in green growth wherever possible.”

Both the Netherlands and the U.S. are working to promote a technology-neutral standard within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Export Credit Group that “ limits support for high carbon intensity power plants by export credit agencies,” according to a March 24 joint statement from both nations.

Obama praised the decision from the Netherlands and said both nations “reaffirmed” their commitments to tackle climate change and its impact, highlighting sea rise as a particular area of concern.

“We're pleased that the Netherlands has joined our initiative that will virtually end all public financing for coal-fired plants abroad,” Obama said. “It's concrete action like this that can keep making progress on reducing emissions while we develop new global agreements on climate change.”

Ending public financing for overseas coal plants was a commitment first made by Obama in his June 2013 climate action plan. Exceptions to the prohibition on public financing are allowed in the world's poorest countries that use the most efficient coal technology available and where no economically feasible alternative exists, or in plants that deploy carbon capture and sequestration technologies.

Climate change also was among the issues discussed during a separate meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Amsterdam, according to Obama.

Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden joined the U.S. in a joint September 2013 statement pledging to end public financing for coal-fired power plants overseas. The U.K. also pledged to end public funding for overseas coal-fired power plants in November .

The U.S. Export-Import Bank adopted guidelines in December 2013 that largely ended support for overseas coal-fired power plants and the Treasury Department issued similar revised guidance in October 2013 .

'Ambitious' International Agreement Desired

Both the U.S. and the Netherlands repeated calls for cooperation in hopes of adopting a “broad and ambitious” international agreement on addressing climate change at the United Nations climate conference in Paris in 2015.

“The agreement should reflect the continuous evolution of capabilities of countries in tackling this global challenge,” the joint statement from both countries said. “It should also take account of the important role played by the private sector, sub-national actors, and civil society in finding solutions to addressing carbon pollution while improving the resilience of nations to the impacts of climate change.”

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