Asian Public Financing Entities provided more than 90% of the funding for all new cross-border coal-fired power projects around the world excluding China in the period 2013-2018, according to a new research report, with Chinese public financiers alone supplying half the funds.
The report, released on Thursday by the Boston University Global Development Policy Center, estimates that on top of the $15.6 billion in Chinese public finance for new coal-fired power over the period, Japan supplied around $9.4 billion, or 30% of total global public funding, and South Korea about $3.4 billion, or 11%.
China’s flagship Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), a major international push to develop infrastructure across Asia and into central Europe, has been criticised for using government funds to support environmentally unfriendly international coal-fired power plants since its launch in 2013.
In June, leaders from the G7 agreed to boost climate-friendly finance and signalled a desire to build a rival to China’s BRI, although the details were few and far between.
However, whilst acknowledging that clear and official estimates of non-Chinese international coal funding by sources of finance are currently lacking, the research report also flagged numbers showing that private, non-Chinese finance has also played a big role in funding coal power projects in recent years.
It estimated that taking all global financing entities together, including state- and private-owned commercial banks and firms, Chinese capital provided just 17% of the finance for newly added coal power capacity around the world excluding China over the period from 2013 to mid-2019.
“Rather than pointing fingers, the G7 should work within the G20, which includes China, and other forums to reign in public and private financing for coal, together,” said the report.
It also suggested that the G20 should commit to limiting all overseas fossil fuel financing, starting with overseas coal finance from the public and private sectors.