European bank to ditch coal funding in anti-carbon push

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will stop funding coal and oil exploration projects in a bid to cut carbon emissions and prevent environmental degradation.

The coal ban includes a cut in all financing for thermal coal mining and coal-fired electricity generation, while the bank will only fund oil projects in exceptional circumstances where the investment would help reduce greenhouse gases.

The EBRD, one of the world’s largest international development lenders, has put decarbonisation at the forefront of its energy sector strategy for the next five years.

Nandita Parshad, the bank’s managing director for energy and natural resources, said the EBRD is in a perfect place to deliver a transition from the world’s most polluting fuels.

“Urgent and decisive steps are needed to address the challenges posed by climate change and poor air quality. This requires a fundamental shift away from hydrocarbons to cleaner energy sources.

“That means the electrification of economies, including industry, transport and heating, with that electricity generated overwhelmingly from renewable sources.”

The new strategy follows the EBRD’s recommendation to countries of the Western Balkans region, which depend on coal for electricity generation, to switch to renewable energy and gas in a bid to cut pollution.