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MUFG bank's headquarters in Tokyo. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

In the first four months of 2019, four major financial institutions headquartered in Asia have announced restrictions on the financing of new coal plants — a noteworthy shift within the region.

Why it matters: Until recently, such restrictions came largely from Western financial institutions. But the majority of planned new coal plants are being built in just four Asian countries — China, India, Vietnam and Indonesia — and increasingly underwritten by Asian financial institutions.

Where it stands: More than 100 of the global financial institutions with at least $10 billion in assets under management have announced coal finance restrictions, according to the Institute for Energy Economic and Financial Analysis. These restrictions are gaining new momentum in Asia.

Yes, but: Loopholes remain a problem. The Van Phong plant in Vietnam will still be financed and constructed, and OCBC and DBS will likely finance two other plants in Southeast Asia that would similarly undercut these new policies.

What to watch: After China, Japan is the world’s largest financier of new coal plants overseas. In addition to MUFG, several of the country’s leading corporations have announced policies to end construction and development of new coal plants, including Marubeni.

  • With the 2019 G-20 summit being held in Japan, and the country's environment ministry opposing new coal plants, Japanese institutions may be weighing support for the coal industry more heavily in the months ahead.

Justin Guay directs global climate strategy at the Sunrise Project and advises the ClimateWorks Foundation.

Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - World

German election: Exit polls show close race to succeed Angela Merkel

SPD leader Olaf Scholz. Photo: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg via Getty Images

BERLIN — Exit polls from Sunday's German elections showed the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) slightly ahead of the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) in a tight election race to succeed Angela Merkel.

State of play: Official results were still rolling in, but a partial count showed the SPD ahead with 26% of the vote and the CDU on just over 24%.

Updated 43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Liz Cheney: Americans deserve better than choice of Biden or Trump

Rep. Liz Cheney talks with Lesley Stahl on CBS' "60 Minutes." Photo: CBS News

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday that Americans "deserve better than having to choose between" President Biden's "disastrous" policies and former President Trump, "who violated his oath of office."

Why it matters: Cheney made the remarks after CBS' Lesley Stahl put it to her in the interview that Republicans feel that her joining the House select committee in charge of investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot helps "keep the focus on Trump instead of on the shortcomings of the Biden administration."

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.