Coal combustion not only causes severe health impacts and air pollution, it is a leading driver of climate change worldwide. In fact, coal accounts for two-fifths of global energy-related carbon emissions—more than oil or gas. However, Group of Seven (G7) countries are spending billions of dollars to support coal projects in emerging economies, locking these recipient nations into decades of coal use and dangerous environmental and health impacts. This is happening even though savvy investors increasingly view coal power plants as unprofitable “stranded assets” in the long-term.
From 2007 to 2015, the G7 collectively provided more than $42 billion in support of coal projects. During this period, Japan—host of the 2016 G7 conference—emerged as the worst offender with $22 billion in support for coal projects. Germany came in second with $9 billion. Perhaps worse, G7 nations are trying to sweep their support for dirty coal under the rug.
This practice directly undermines the groundbreaking U.N. Paris Agreement—which all G7 nations signed in December 2015—to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius, and to make best efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees. In order to uphold their commitment to decisively address climate change, governments must limit support for future fossil fuel projects, beginning with coal.