In a joint statement late last week, the five Nordic nations joined the US in its commitment to ending overseas coal funding during US President Barack Obama’s visit to Sweden.
“For developing countries in desperate need of energy, these decisions have serious consequences,” WCA chief executive Milton Catelin said.
“Rather than taking decisions that simply restrict the energy choices available to developing countries, these governments should be supporting steps to increase energy access, while encouraging the use of best available technologies.”
Catelin says the decision is particularly disappointing considering that some of the Western countries “repeatedly refusing to acknowledge the vital role coal plays” in the energy mix actually rely heavily on coal for their own domestic supplies.
“Denmark uses coal for over 30% of its electricity. The US relies on coal for over 40% of its electricity,” Catelin said.
“Western governments should be working to ensure that rather than simply avoiding coal projects, they encourage countries to utilize all energy sources available to them and promote the use of the most efficient, cleanest technologies available.
“This would mean coal is supported not in ‘rare circumstances’ but where it’s needed and can lift people out of energy poverty.
Catelin used China’s recent development as an example of the way that coal use could fuel an economy and lift thousands of people from poverty.
“When billions of people do not have access to modern energy services we should not be cutting off energy supplies,” he said.