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EBRD to stop coal financing, upstream oil exploration funding

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will no longer finance thermal coal mining or coal-fired electricity generation as it seeks to increase its investments in renewable energies, the bank said.

The international development bank said Dec. 12 that it would end funding of upstream oil exploration and will not finance upstream oil development projects except where such investments reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Its statement comes as governments meet for the 24th annual session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, more commonly referred to as COP24, in Katowice, Poland, and as international organizations and investors raise the alarm on climate change.

"Urgent and decisive steps are needed to address the challenges posed by climate change and poor air quality. This requires a fundamental shift away from hydrocarbons to cleaner energy sources," said Nandita Parshad, EBRD managing director of energy and natural resources.

"That means the electrification of economies, including industry, transport and heating, with that electricity generated overwhelmingly from renewable sources. This is the goal that we have placed at the center of our new energy sector strategy: To decarbonize the power sector with a decisive shift away from the most polluting fuels."

Over 2019 and 2023, the bank will invest in energy projects in 38 countries as part of its new strategy.

As of January 2019, the EBRD will adopt a "Shadow Carbon Pricing Methodology" to be used in projects with significant greenhouse gas emissions to calculate their cost.