Coal investments are a dying breed in many countries, but some investors are still ready to try their luck in southeast Europe and Turkey. For campaigners who want to communicate with these actors Bankwatch has developed the user-friendly online toolkit Kings of Coal in three languages.
Pippa Gallop, Research coordinator | 5 May 2014
See the new toolkit at kingsofcoal.org
In Turkey and the Western Balkans, decision-makers are still convinced that coal is the next big thing. Turkey is planning to build no less than 75 new coal power plants with around 37,000 MW capacity, making it the fourth most prolific country after China, India and Russia.
The Western Balkans’ planned 6185 MW of new coal plants (pdf) might seem puny in comparison, but for these relatively small countries, the projects represent a direct clash with their future EU obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonise their energy sectors by 2050.
Many of these power plants (and other projects not related to coal) are likely to receive financing from public and commercial lenders. For those opposing the projects knowing how to communicate with the (potential) financiers and companies is an important advantage, which is why Bankwatch has prepared the toolkit Kings of Coal that provides easy access to this knowledge – with a focus on those actors most likely to be active in Turkey and the Western Balkans.
(Link to video: http://youtu.be/JpGz32jrwac )
The usual suspects have (almost) left the coal game
For almost two decades we’ve been working in Bankwatch to prevent harmful impacts from projects financed by the likes of the EBRD, EIB, and EU funds. One of their major steps forward last year was a virtual halt to financing for coal power plants by these banks. They have also been joined by numerous other institutions like the US Exim Bank and Nordic Investment Bank, and governments including the US, UK, Scandinavian countries and Netherlands, providing hope that coal may finally be on its way out. [*]
Certainly, in the EU, the situation on the ground looks reasonably promising: A report by Poyry consultants last year concluded that no new coal plants are likely to be built in Germany, Spain and the Netherlands in the foreseeable future.
And in the US, Sierra Club has tracked a remarkable 183 planned coal plants that have been defeated since 2002. Bad economics, health impacts and community resistance have proved to be a fatal mixture for these projects.
Even China, long known for its rapid construction of new coal plants, is finally showing signs of slowing down after the numerous ‘airpocalypse’ episodes of recent years. A recent Greenpeace analysis (pdf) found that China’s new coal control measures imply a reduction in coal consumption of approximately 655 million tonnes by 2020, compared with business-as-usual. This translates into an estimated reduction in CO2 emissions of about 1,300 million tonnes – almost enough to put China in line with a global trajectory of limiting climate change to 2 degrees centigrade.
But decision-makers in Turkey and the Western Balkans apparently haven’t read the writing on the wall.
(See and share more images below.)
Communicating with banks and companies – a necessary skill set for campaigners
Opposition to coal in the region is increasing, but what presents a particular challenge for campaigners – along with the resistance to change by most decision-makers on energy issues in the region and rampant corruption in the energy sector – is that the money for these projects is coming from various banks and export credit agencies from countries including China, Japan and the Czech Republic, which are quite different to the institutions traditionally monitored by Bankwatch, and in some cases much more difficult to communicate with.
With this in mind, we’ve put together the Kings of Coal website which explains how to contact the investors behind a project, which policies guide their decisions and how best to contact and influence them. The website is available in English, Serbian and Turkish and covers selected companies and banks from around the world. Although it focuses on the coal sector in southeast Europe and Turkey we believe it will also be useful to campaigners in other sectors and other regions too.
We’ve tried to present the information in as user-friendly way as possible, including the possibility of creating a custom-made dossier in which you can select the banks and companies you’re most interested in and then get a dossier on them sent to you automatically by email.
So please, do take a look and share the link or the materials below with your colleagues. And if you need any further information or have any comments, contact us at kingsofcoal [at] bankwatch.org.
[*] Coal is far from being out of the door already, however, since all of the mentioned institutions that have restricted their support for coal power plants have not ruled out coal mining from their lending.
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Institution: EBRD | EIB | World Bank Group
Theme: Energy & climate
Tags: Kings of Coal | Serbian | Turkey | Turkish | campaigning | coal | energy | launch | lignite | multilingual | toolkit | website