The politics of international finance for coal power plants have intensified since the 2015 Paris climate agreement was negotiated. Over the past few years, Japan and South Korea have signaled their intent not to fund new coal projects overseas, leaving China and its Belt and Road Initiative as the ‘financier of last resort.’ In September 2021, China too announced its intent to stop providing finance for overseas coal projects. What accounts for their decision to cease financing overseas coal projects despite prominent differences in political systems, degree of internationalization of their financial systems, and economic size? Drawing on datasets of coal projects and financing supplemented by case material and interviews, this paper explores the dynamics of coal export finance and how the combination of international reputational pressures and declining demand for coal finance diminished the domestic support for incumbent coal exporters in all three countries.
Davidson, M. R., Gao, X., Busby, J., Shearer, C., & Eisenman, J. (2023). Hard to say goodbye: South Korea, Japan, and China as the last lenders for coal. Environmental Politics, 0(0), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1080/09644016.2023.2211488