Climate-Alliance Germany

Climate-Alliance Germany

Coal financing – what the KfW banking group prefers to keep under wraps

Press release by urgewald and climate-alliance germany

On 8 August the German KfW banking group presented their quarterly results. The environmental organizations urgewald and climate-alliance germany took this opportunity to demand a policy change for the state development bank. The bank needs to stop promoting the global expansion of coal-fired power plants and coal infrastructure and concentrate instead on what it is already doing well at: supporting energy efficiency and renewable energies.

„KfW likes to point out its positive aspects but there is a dark side of the bank that is the reverse of its green front. In spite of catastrophic climate change it grants loans for coal projects. During the last few years the bank has invested several hundred million Euros in the expansion and construction of coal-fired power plants, coal mines, and coal infrastructure. This is irresponsible”, explains Kathrin Petz from urgewald who investigated the KfW coal projects and assembled them in a briefing.

During the last few years the KfW banking group has contributed to the construction of at least eight coal-fired power plants and two coal infrastructure projects globally. In Greece it is currently considering an involvement in the construction of the new lignite-fired power plant Ptolemaida V. Greek environmentalists caution against the project: “There are two possible scenarios for 2050 in Greece. Either we will manage to cover our energy supply with renewable energies, or lignite will continue to play a major role in our energy mix. Which scenario will come true is being decided now. If Ptolemaida V goes ahead we will continue ruining our climate and our economy with lignite, the worst and socio-economically most expensive fossil fuel. KfW should not support this”, Achilleas Plitharas, anti-coal campaigner at WWF Greece, explains.

KfW often justifies its coal activities by stating that they contribute to poverty reduction and improved energy access. As a matter of fact, however, the coal-fired power plants Medupi and Kusile in South Africa aggravate energy inequality and the fight for water in the region. Supplying the Indian plant Krishnaptanam with coal involves human rights violations and clear-cutting valuable rain forests in Indonesia. Facilities that are supposed to increase the efficiency of lignite capacities in Serbia mean that open pit mining will increase and that Serbia is kept on a lignite track. The enhancement of coal harbours in Australia serves the distribution of enormous amounts of coal throughout the world which not only makes ambitious CO2 reduction goals impossible, but also endangers the unique Great Barrier Reef.

“KfW undermines German climate goals with its worldwide involvement in coal projects. They should take their own mission statement which prominently features “sustainability and responsibility” seriously and stop investing in projects that contribute to the extraction, transportation or burning of coal. A believable and necessary first step to rid their portfolio of coal would be to cancel the financing of the new Ptolemaida V lignite plant in Greece”, Mona Bricke, anti-coal campaigner at climate-alliance germany demands.

The briefing „Coal financing – what the KfW banking group prefers to keep under wraps“ can be accessed here: (in English) (in German)

For more information:
Kathrin Petz, urgewald, +49 (0)152-02149341
Mona Bricke, klima-allianz deutschland, +49 (0)176-10563917

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