Time for European bank to say ‘goodbye to coal’

A coalition of the largest ten European environmental organisations has called on the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to phase out fossil fuels from its future lending, beginning with coal.

The announcement, which comes as the EBRD today closes the public consultation period on its upcoming energy strategy, also calls for the ruling out of lending to energy sources, such as nuclear and shale gas.

According to the environmental organisations, a draft energy policy presented by the EBRD this summer indicated that the bank plans to continue investing in fossil fuels.

The organisations are also worried that the bank is not considering restricting its current lending to the nuclear sector and is “opening the door” for the financing of shale gas.

International financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank have recently introduced significant limitations to their coal lending, and the alliance of environmental organisations pointed out that EBRD shareholders such as the US and the Nordic countries have said they would halt financing of coal abroad.

Tony Long, from the WWF European Policy Office, said: “It is time for the EBRD to finally say goodbye to old-fashioned coal and say ‘no more’ – once and for all. The EBRD must join the growing movement in international development finance led by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank in ending funding for coal projects given their disastrous impacts on climate and health.

“Clearly the way forward is with renewable energy sources. Coal investments are merely locking future generations into the clean-up costs from a particularly nasty, toxic energy source.”