Leading Global Sector Public Financing Towards Cleaner Energy
(Climate Action Plan, p. 20.)
- The Administration is to work toward ending U.S. government support for public financing of new coal plants overseas, except for (a) the most efficient coal technology available in the world’s poorest countries in cases where no other economically feasible alternative exists, or (b) facilities deploying carbon capture and sequestration technologies.
- The Administration is to work actively to secure the agreement of other countries and the multilateral development banks to adopt similar policies as soon as possible.
Implementation, Progress, and Outcomes
October 29, 2013: The Treasury Department released a new “guidance” for how the U.S. will vote on coal projects under consideration by multilateral development banks. The new guidance requires the U.S. to vote against using U.S. funding for new coal plants overseas except for (a) projects in the world’s poorest countries where the most efficient coal technology available is used and where no other economically feasible alternative exists, or (b) projects that use carbon capture and sequestration technologies. The Treasury Department also pledged to work actively to secure the agreement of other countries and the multilateral development banks to adopt similar policies as soon as possible. (Press Release, Dep’t of the Treasury, U.S. Takes a Significant Step Toward a Clean Energy Future (Oct. 29, 2013).)
December 4, 2013: The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) announced proposed changes to its Environmental and Social Policy Statement to align it with the Climate Action Plan and the Treasury Department’s October 2013 guidance by clarifying eligibility requirements for OPIC support for new coal-fired power plants and upgrades to existing plants. A 30-day period for public comments ended on January 3, 2014. (Environmental and Social Policies, OPIC (last visited Jan. 14, 2014).)
December 9, 2013: The U.S. voted against a proposed Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan to Pakistan for construction of a new coal-fired plant in Jamshoro, Pakistan. Citing the Climate Action Plan and the Treasury Department’s October 2013 guidance, the U.S. position statement noted that the Jamshoro project “does not include credible offsetting activities for the more than 8 million tons of carbon emissions per year” that the plant would generate and “does not deploy CCS or deploy best available technology.” The statement added, “Our vote is the result of our global policy on climate change, not a Pakistan-specific objection.” (Proposed AsDB Loan for the Jamshoro Power Generation Project, Pakistan, U.S. Position, Treasury.gov (Dec. 9, 2013).) Despite the U.S. vote of “no,” ADB approved the $900 million loan. (News Release, ADB, ADB Supports Pakistan’s Push to End Energy Crisis with $900 Million Loan (Dec. 9, 2013).)
December 12, 2013: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) announced that it was adopting revisions to its environmental procedures and guidelines governing high-carbon-intensity projects, aligning it with President Obama’s goal of reducing carbon pollution. The new guidelines generally require carbon capture and storage as a condition for financing for coal-fired power plants, though exceptions can be made for meeting energy needs in the poorest countries. (Press Release, Export-Import Bank, Export-Import Bank Board Adopts Revised Environmental Guidelines to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Dec. 12, 2013).)
January 13, 2014: House and Senate leaders announced a trillion-dollar spending bill that includes a rider (offered by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.)) intended to prohibit the Ex-Im Bank and OPIC from following the October 2013 guidance (discussed above) and blocking multilateral funding for coal projects until September 30, 2014. (Kate Sheppard, Spending Bill Protects Inefficient Light Bulbs And Money For Coal Abroad, Huffington Post (Jan. 13, 2014, 10:16 PM); News Release, Rep. Hal Rogers, Rogers: Omnibus Targets Funding to Important Programs, Continues Downward Trend in Federal Spending (Jan. 14, 2014); Alex Guillen, Omnibus jabs on light bulbs, coal, but skips big fights, Politico Morning Energy (Jan. 14, 2014, 10:02 AM).)
This page was last updated on Jan. 14, 2014.