Stories by Justin Guay

Expert Voices

Restrictive finance policies are hastening coal's decline

Cows stand on a field by the French energy giant EDF powerplant of Cordemais, one of the five last coal powerplant in France on September 28, 2018 in Cordemais, western France.
Cows stand on a field by the French energy giant EDF powerplant of Cordemais, one of the last five coal powerplants in France. Photo: Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images

More than 100 globally significant financial institutions — those with at least $10 billion in assets under management (AUM) — have now restricted access to financing for the coal industry, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

Why it matters: The International Energy Agency estimates that global investment in coal plants and mines has dropped by $38 billion (22%) in the past two years. Almost every other week now, a major global bank, insurer or other lender announces new coal finance restriction policies.

Expert Voices

Coal plant crisis in South Africa raises concerns about stranded assets

South Africa’s largest state-owned company, the utility Eskom, is currently in a financial crisis that threatens the broader economy. According to a former high-ranking government official, the crisis stems mainly from two of the world's largest coal plants financed nearly a decade ago that have dramatically underperformed expectations and now threaten billions of dollars in losses.

Expert Voices

Germany takes a decisive, if sluggish, step toward phasing out coal

 North Rhine-Westphalia, Grevenbroich: Steam is rising from the cooling towers of the Neurath lignite-fired power plant operated by the RWE energy group.
Steam rising from the cooling towers of the Neurath lignite-fired power plant in Grevenbroich, Germany. Photo: Christophe Gateau/picture alliance via Getty Images

After a marathon negotiating session, the German Commission for Growth, Structural Change and Employment appears to have reached a landmark agreement to phase out the country’s coal fleet no later than 2038 and as early as 2035. The agreement includes near-term plans to eliminate 12 gigawatts of existing coal plants in the next four years, equivalent to 25% of the country’s fleet.

Why it matters: According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the developed world must phase out its coal fleet no later than 2030 for the world to avoid more severe consequences climate change. However, Germany is one of only a few large industrial nations to formally pledge to phase out coal.

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