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The U.S. And France Will Seek to Halt Private Funding for Coal Plants at COP28

Supported by the United States, France will propose at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai an exit of private financing for coal-fired power plants, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing sources with knowledge of the talks.

According to Indian officials who spoke to Reuters, France has discussed with India – a large coal consumer – a plan for private banks and insurers to phase out funding for coal plants under the so-called ‘New Coal Exclusion Policy’.  

India and China are opposed to any halt of financing to coal, on which they continue to rely heavily for power generation. Coal still generates around 70% of India’s electricity, and India is boosting coal production, while China continues to approve the construction of coal-fired power plants.

During the first half of 2023 alone, China approved more than 50 GW of new coal power, Greenpeace said in a report this summer. That’s more than it did in all of 2021, the environmental campaign group added. 

India’s coal production jumped by 18.59% to 78.65 million tons in October compared to the same month last year, data from the Indian Ministry of Coal showed earlier this month.

The coal phase-out in India is “going to take 2-3 decades, if not more,” Gurdeep Singh, chairman of India’s state power giant NTPC chairman said last year.

As the COP28 summit approaches, the world remains divided over the use of fossil fuels and timelines for phasing down coal, oil, and natural gas.

Chances are not high that the heads of state and government at the summit in Dubai, one of the emirates of OPEC member the United Arab Emirates (UAE), would manage this time to agree on a text to set a timeline for phasing out fossil fuels amid energy security concerns and issues with access to any form of electricity for millions of people in developing countries.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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