Africa's largest bank by assets has signalled it will still fund coal, but with a focus on poor countries that need all the power they can get.
One of the points often made about the unfolding climate crisis and efforts to contain the greenhouse gas emissions widely blamed for it is that the burden of responsibility should not fall on poor countries. Such countries, with a heavy reliance on agriculture, often of the subsistence variety, are seen as the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Industrialised economies, by contrast, owe their affluence in part to decades of fossil fuel usage which powered their development. The latter should be making the cutbacks, while the former can hardly be expected to make such sacrifices at this stage in their economic journey.
This seems to be the thinking behind Standard Bank's adoption of a "coal-powered finance policy," which it unveiled on Wednesday 31 July. Referring to the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions, Standard Bank said:
"Coal-fired power has historically been an important source of energy supply in several countries in Africa including South Africa, and the Paris Agreement recognises that emission reduction will take longer for developing countries. There is, therefore,...