Japan and South Korea top list of biggest coal financiers

More than $73bn of international public finance was given to coal between 2007 and 2014 via credit export agencies

Japan and South Korea are the world’s biggest financiers of coal through export credit agencies, a new report has found, with coal projects in Australia among the major beneficiaries of their support.

WWF said that the three countries are attempting to derail talks that could cut international coal finance from such agencies, which are state-owned mechanisms that fund or underwrite overseas projects that domestic companies are involved in.

Japan’s export credit agency (ECA) gave more than $20bn (£13bn), with South Korea second on $7bn. The data, compiled by WWF, Oil Change International (OCI) and the Natural Resource Defence Council, reveals more than $73bn of international public finance was given to coal between 2007 and 2014. The group said the money “moved through largely unknown and opaque institutions”.

ECAs based in OECD member states were the biggest drivers of coal investment, accounting for nearly half of the total.

The data comes a week before the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) export credit group is due to meet in Paris to discuss banning export finance for coal. The US and France have already stopped their ECAs giving money to coal power plants, and are pushing for a global ban on export credit for coal