22 September 2021

Chinese and Turkish announcements spell end to new coal in Europe

22 September 2021 – China’s commitment to ending support for new coal overseas, and Turkey’s announcement at the United Nations General Assembly yesterday that it intends to ratify the UN Paris climate agreement are a critical blow for coal power in Europe.

As a consequence, the Europe Beyond Coal coalition argues that the Kostolac B3 in Serbia, and the Tuzla 7, Ugljevik III and Banovići coal plants in Bosnia Herzegovina – which all have Chinese finance and/or contractors – must be cancelled. Similarly, without Chinese finance, there will be no funding for Turkey’s remaining eleven planned new coal plants. Europe’s coal pipeline has shrunk considerably in the last year, with eighteen coal plant projects cancelled in Turkey alone [1].

“China’s commitment to end coal support overseas spells the end for new coal in Turkey. Combined with the Turkish government’s intention to ratify the UN Paris climate agreement, this means it must plan for a total coal exit this decade,” said Duygu Kutluay, Europe Beyond Coal campaigner. “Turkey has a massive potential for renewable energy. With this historic climate commitment, we now have the happy challenge of making a bold transition away from coal, and towards clean energy. This will improve the health of our people, protect us from more tragic wildfires, and show that we will do our part for international climate action.”

“Our expectation is that China will stop ongoing coal investments, such as the Hunutlu coal power plant project, ending material and equipment supply to coal power plants and also ending any financial services including insurance,” said Efe Baysal, from 350.org. “In addition, we assume and believe that China will no longer be interested in public-private partnership model projects like Afsin C in Kahramanmaras, and we hope this will convince Turkey to move on from coal completely.”

“While we welcome China’s decision to draw a line in the sand and commit to ending its support for new coal projects abroad, this needs to be backed up with concrete actions,” said Denis Žiško of the Center for Ecology and Energy, in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “China should start by ending its involvement in the new Tuzla 7 coal-fired plant project. It’s currently stalled and mired in scandal. It’s an unwanted burden for the local community.”

“China’s pledge to end support for coal abroad underlines the fact that coal has no future in Europe, and globally,” said Wawa Wang, program director of Just Finance International which monitors Belt and Road Initiative coal projects in Europe. “We expect China to now add details to its pledge that includes the end of all forms of coal support, including for planned projects, and those already under construction.”

“China can put its United Nations General Assembly pledge to work by immediately declaring the suspension of all planned Western Balkan coal projects, including the Ugljevik 3 coal project,” said Majda Ibraković from the Center for the Environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Not only are all the Chinese coal projects in the Western Balkans non-compliant with the latest EU pollution control standards, but most, like the Kostolac B3 coal-fired power plant project in Serbia, are also plagued with irregularities in the environmental permitting and assessment studies,” said Zvezdan Kalmar from Serbia’s Center for Ecology and Sustainable Development (CEKOR).

ENDS

Contacts:
Alastair Clewer, Communications Officer, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +49 176 433 07 185

Duygu Kutluay, Campaigner, Europe Beyond Coal
[email protected], +905326385421

Denis Žiško, Energy and Climate Change Program Coordinator, Center for Ecology and Energy, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
[email protected], +387 61 140 655

Majda Ibrakovic, Energy and climate change campaigner, Center for the Environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina
[email protected], +387(0)51 433 140

Wawa Wang, Program Director of Just Finance International, VedvarendeEnergi
[email protected], +45 81949469

Notes:
1. https://beyond-coal.eu/2021/03/12/one-tenth-of-turkeys-planned-coal-projects-wiped-out/
2. Report by CEE Bankwatch Network and VedvarendeEnergi: Chinese-financed coal projects in Europe: https://bankwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/china-projects-briefing-Sept-2020.pdf
3. Europe (EU27, UK, Western Balkans and Turkey) is now over halfway to closing all of its coal plants by the critical Paris agreement-aligned 2030 date, and its new coal pipeline has shrunk by more than 40 percent since the start of the year. Details in the Europe Beyond Coal database here: https://beyond-coal.eu/database/

About:
Europe Beyond Coal is an alliance of civil society groups working to catalyse the closures of coal mines and power plants, prevent the building of any new coal projects and hasten the just transition to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Our groups are devoting their time, energy and resources to this independent campaign to make Europe coal free by 2030 or sooner. www.beyond-coal.eu

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