Japan and other members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development will end public financing of coal-fired power generation in principle from 2017 to help rein in global warming, Japanese officials said Wednesday.
A working group of the OECD has agreed in Paris to restrict advanced nations from financing coal-fired power generation and other technologies that emit high levels of carbon dioxide in developing nations.
Members will also consider strengthening the restrictions in 2019 by taking into account technological advances and research on global warming, they said.
The agreement adds impetus to the upcoming U.N. climate change meeting, slated for Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 in Paris, as members seek to decide on measures to reduce emissions from 2020 under a new framework with the participation of key economies such as China, the United States and India.
Withdrawing public financing for regular coal-fueled thermal power generation marks a major shift in Japan’s policy as it has pushed exports of coal-fired power units through both the public and private sectors.
The latest agreement still allows Japan to provide support for advanced ultra-supercritical power generation, which is considered a highly efficient form of coal-fueled thermal power generation.
The government welcomed the agreement, saying that promoting highly efficient coal-fueled thermal power generation was a realistic solution for combating global warming.
Together with South Korea and Australia, Japan initially opposed strengthening restrictions on gas-emitting technologies, fearing this could help non-OECD member China take over exports. But Japan changed its stance after talks with the U.S. and other countries.
Japan and the U.S. have already agreed to restrict export credits for constructing coal-fired power plants in developing countries.
Generally, coal-fired power generation emits roughly twice the amount of CO₂ compared to natural gas. Because of its low cost, coal is attractive to developing countries.