France lobby groups urge to end coal projects in Turkey

France lobby groups urge to end coal projects in Turkey

LONDON - Reuters
France lobby groups urge to end coal projects in Turkey

AFP photo

Environmental lobby groups on Oct. 7 urged French President Francois Hollande to force state-owned utility Engie to stop investing in coal projects in Turkey.

Engie, in partnership with the Turkish company Mimag-Sanko, plans to build the Ada Yumurtalık 1,320-megawatt coal plant in the south of Turkey.

Around 35 environmental groups, including WWF France, Greenpeace Turkey and Climate Action Network Europe, said the project threatens citrus fruit production in the area and new coal plants put the livelihoods of 500,000 people at risk.

“We strongly urge you to act to cancel Engie’s investment plans in the Ada coal power plant project in İskenderun Bay, and to push Engie commit to end all its coal investments and activities,” they said in a letter to the French president.

Coal remains the world’s top fuel for power generation but over the past year pressure on governments and companies worldwide has increased to pull out of coal on environmental grounds. U.S. bank Citi on Oct. 6 joined the retreat by tightening its policy on credit exposure to coal miners.

Turkey plans to double its coal power capacity over the next four years to help it meet rising energy demand as its economy expands.

The French state owns 84 percent of Engie and around 33 percent of utility EDF. Both companies are among the sponsors of United Nations climate talks which will be held in Paris from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11 with the aim of agreeing a global deal to curb emissions.  

The letter said it was the French government’s responsibility as the host of the U.N. climate talks to ask those companies to redirect coal investments towards energy efficiency and renewable energy.

France has pledged to eliminate coal export credits and scrapped credits used for coal technology made by Alstom last month.

Utility companies have said it will take time to move completely away from the use of fossil fuels and some have urged governments to put a global price on carbon emissions so there is less incentive to burn highly polluting coal.