Global aid deals to end coal urged to prioritise workers, transparency

(Reuters, 21 Jan 2022) As South Africa wins the first international support package for a "just transition", there is a need to ensure the money reaches communities that will be hit hardest by the shift away from fossil fuels, experts say.

Rich nations are opening the funding tap to help coal-reliant emerging economies shift to clean energy - but it must happen in a transparent way that includes workers and communities who risk losing their incomes, politicians and analysts say.

An $8.5-billion partnership announced at November's COP26 climate summit to wean South Africa off coal, backed by Britain, the United States, Germany, France and the European Union, has raised hopes of similar deals for India, Indonesia and others.

This week, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the World Economic Forum that countries with an energy mix relying on coal face "enormous structural obstacles" and need assistance to move to clean power.

"To help key emerging economies accelerate the transition, I'm calling for the creation of coalitions of countries, public and private financial institutions, investment funds and companies with the technological know-how to provide targeted financial and technical support," Guterres said in a speech.

The governments of Indonesia and Vietnam recently announced their intention to get out of coal and adopt more renewable energy, he noted, while South Africa now has in place a just energy transition partnership to move beyond coal.

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Reuters, 21 Jan 2022: Global aid deals to end coal urged to prioritise workers, transparency