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May 24 — A group of observer organizations released a report May 24 showing that the world's most important industrialized countries continue to fund coal projects, even as they agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through international pacts like the Paris Agreement.
The 12-page “Swept Under the Rug” report, which was produced by a group of environmental organizations, including the National Resource Defense Council, Oil Change International, WWF, Japanese policy research group Kik Network, Japanese sustainability group Jacses, and Friends of the Earth-Japan, says that Group of Seven nations clandestinely paid out more than $42 billion in support for coal projects between 2007 and 2015.
More than half that sum was spent in Japan alone, where $22 billion was spent over the nine-year period, the report said. Germany spent the second-largest amount during that reporting period: $9 billion. The findings include funding for coal mining or exploration, or for coal-powered energy plants.
According to the environmental organizations, because of difficulties with uncovering project financing hidden in government budgets, the estimates in the report are most likely lower than in reality.
The Group of Seven, or G-7, is made up of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S.
The aggregate annual support for coal industries in the G-7 countries ranges from a low of about $3 billion in both 2011 and 2015 to more than double that in 2010 and 2013. Regardless of the up-and-down levels of funding, the report concluded that support to fund coal projects should be phased out completely.
“It's crucial in this post-Paris world that investment and support drifts away from the carbon-intensive types of projects,” Jake Schmidt, director of the international program for the NDRC, said in a briefing on the sidelines of the May 16–26 Bonn Climate Change Conference. He was referring to last year's summit in the French capital, which produced the Paris Agreement, the world's first global climate agreement.
Regine Richter, a environmental campaigner with the German group Urgewald, agreed: “There is no room in a 2 degree world for coal,” she said, referring to the Paris Agreement goal of keeping global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).
The report said, “In order for countries to uphold their commitment to decisively address climate change, countries must limit support for future fossil fuel projects, beginning with coal.” It pointed out that 40 percent of energy-related carbon emissions come from coal.
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The “Swept Under the Rug” report is available online at http://src.bna.com/fiD .
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