World / Asia-Pacific

Japan carries on with coal power projects

By Associated Press in Muttagi, India (China Daily) Updated: 2015-03-27 07:37

Japan carries on with coal power projects

Workers lay concrete to build the foundations of a new coal-fired power plant, partially financed by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation, in Kudgi, India. Aijaz Rahi / AP

Despite mounting protests, Japan continues to finance the building of coal-fired power plants with money earmarked for fighting climate change, with two new projects underway in India and Bangladesh, The Associated Press has found.

The AP reported in December that Japan had counted $1 billion in loans for coal plants in Indonesia as climate finance, angering critics who say such financing should be going to clean energy like solar and wind power.

Japanese officials now say they are also counting $630 million in loans for coal plants in Kudgi, India, and Matarbari, Bangladesh, as climate finance. The Kudgi project has been marred by violent clashes between police and farmers who fear the plant will pollute the environment.

Tokyo argues that the projects are climate-friendly because the plants use technology that burns coal more efficiently, reducing their carbon emissions compared to older coal plants. Also, Japanese officials stress that developing countries need coal power to grow their economies and expand access to electricity.

Climate finance is money promised by rich countries in UN climate talks to help poor countries limit their carbon emissions. Japan announced at a UN climate conference in Peru in December that it has provided $16 billion in climate finance since 2013. Yet the UN has no rules defining climate finance, meaning governments decide for themselves what projects to include in their accounting.

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