Boris Johnson announces ban on foreign aid for coal mines and power stations

(Business Green, 20 Jan 2020) New policy will stop the UK 'outsourcing' its emissions to developing countries, Johnson tells UK-Africa summit.

The UK will no longer allow foreign aid money to be spent in support of coal mines or coal power plants, as a part of a bid by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ensure the UK focuses on promoting clean energy solutions abroad.

Speaking at a UK-Africa Summit in London earlier today, Johnson said there is "no point" in the UK reducing the amount of coal it burns if it encourages developing nations to use more of it.

"We will breathe the same air, we live beneath the same sky, we all suffer when carbon emissions rise and the planet warms," he said.

He promised the British government will "no longer provide any new direct official development assistance, investment, export, credit, or trade promotion for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas". 

"To put it simply, not another penny of UK taxpayers money will be directly invested in digging up coal or burning it for electricity," Johnson added. "And instead we are going to focus on supporting the transition to lower and zero carbon alternatives."

Most UK government support for foreign energy projects comes via export credit guarantees set by UK Export Finance (UKEF). Although the UK government has not provided funding for coal thermal plants since 2002, and not supported coal mines since 2016, Johnson's pledge is the first time Number 10 has agreed to adopt a formal policy banning support for such projects.

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Business Green, 20 Jan 2020: Boris Johnson announces ban on foreign aid for coal mines and power stations