New report calls on World Bank to support zero emission pathway for coal-dependent countries

11th Oct 2018

The World Coal Association (WCA) has today launched a new report calling on the World Bank Group (WBG) to reform its policy on coal financing. The report “Reducing emissions from coal: A role for the World Bank”, urged the Bank to support coal-dependent countries to develop concrete steps towards a zero emissions pathway.

Coal is forecast to play a significant role in the global energy mix for decades to come. This is particularly true in developing and emerging economies in Asia and Africa. However, with limited financing options available from development banks, countries may choose to build plants with poorer emissions profiles instead of modern plants fitted with low emissions technologies.

In light of this, the WCA is calling on the WBG to adopt a new approach to providing financial support for low emission coal power projects, including supporting strategies for carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) development.

Launching the report, WCA Interim Chief Executive, Katie Warrick said: “Through its ability to raise capital and support complex projects, the World Bank is well-positioned to drive the pathway to zero emissions coal, thereby enabling countries to combine economic imperatives with climate goals. Only international financial and technological support can accelerate deployment of low emission coal technology, particularly carbon capture, use and storage, which is key to achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

The WBG Board adopted a new energy strategy in 2013 that limits financial support for coal-fuelled power plants to ‘rare and exceptional circumstances’.

 “Policies adopted by several development banks, including the World Bank Group, to end financing for coal have not resulted in a shift away from coal. Instead, such policies have led to the construction of less efficient plants with higher emissions profiles. The Bank now has an opportunity to adopt an energy policy that reflects the essential role that low emissions technologies, particularly CCUS, will play in meeting global climate goals,” Ms Warrick added.

Editor’s Notes

Key findings

  • Multiple independent forecasts show that coal will continue to play a significant role in the global energy mix for decades to come. This is particularly true in developing and emerging economies in Asia and Africa where coal is essential to enhancing energy security, supporting energy access and powering industrial development.
  • 492 GW of new coal-fuelled power plant capacity is either planned or under construction today, much of it in developing and emerging economies. Given the life of these plants is at least 30 years, it is expected many of them will be operating well into the 2050s and beyond.
  • With the use of coal projected to continue to grow over the coming decades, a zero-emission pathway for coal is essential if global climate objectives are to be met. This begins with high-efficiency low emission (HELE) coal fuelled power plants fitted with modern emission control technologies that are commercially available today; leading to carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) which requires greater support to accelerate its deployment.
  • The transition away from subcritical technology will require international financial, technological and other kinds of support to accelerate deployment of low emission coal technology. This can be addressed by Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), such as the World Bank, adopting a new approach to coal financing. This approach should –
  1.  Support the switch to best available HELE technology - the construction of the most suitable HELE coal plant with modern emission control technologies where that facilitates delivery of the commitments made by a country under their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement. Wherever practical, involvement of World Bank or other MDB financing in such projects should facilitate the inclusion of concepts of CCUS-readiness in plant design.
  2.  Help drive the pathway to zero emissions from coal - Engage with the relevant national government to support strategies for the development of CCUS technology as part of that country’s long-term climate action plan under the Paris Agreement.


About the World Coal Association

The World Coal Association is the only body acting internationally on behalf of coal, with a mission to demonstrate and gain acceptance for the fundamental role coal plays in achieving a sustainable, lower carbon energy future. The WCA provides a voice for coal in international energy, environment and development forums, and presents the case for coal to key decision-makers. The WCA is a membership body made up of coal producers, national associations, allied companies and stakeholders. The organisation is led by the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

For media enquiries, contact [email protected]