Nordic leaders join US push against coal plant financing

The leaders of Nordic countries say they’re joining the U.S. in largely halting public financing for overseas coal plant construction.

“As part of our commitment to accelerating the transition to low-carbon energy systems worldwide, the leaders of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden will join the United States in ending public financing for new coal-fired power plants overseas, except in rare circumstances,” they said in a joint statement Wednesday.

“We will work together to secure the support of other countries and multilateral development banks to adopt similar policies,” they added.

President Obama’s second-term climate plan calls for ending U.S. government support for public financing of coal plants overseas unless certain conditions are met.

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The U.S. ban would not apply to “the most efficient coal technology available in the world’s poorest countries in cases where no other economically feasible alternative exists,” or plants that trap carbon emissions, according to the White House plan.

The World Bank is also restricting its financing of coal plants unless there aren’t alternatives available, the bank announced in July.

Obama dined Wednesday with the Nordic leaders during his visit to Sweden.

The pledge on coal plant financing was part of a broader set of commitments on the environment, trade, the Middle East and other topics.