Hidden Costs: Pollution from Coal Power Financed by OECD Countries

November 2015

Oil Change International and WWF


OECD countries support coal-fired power plants abroad by providing preferential financing through institutions called Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). These coal-fired power plants have significant costs, in the form damages to the health of local populations from air pollution, and the cost of climate-change causing emissions.

This report finds that support for coal-fired power plants from the ECAs of OECD countries is implicated in tens of billions of dollars in local health impacts and climate change pollution each year.

Coal-fired power plants financed by Korean ECAs – supported by the government –┬áwere found to be associated with the greatest damage to communities overseas (as much as $6.4 billion per year in local air pollution costs alone), followed by Japan and the US.

Using an approach pioneered by the International Monetary Fund, the analysis found that financial support to coal-fired power plants from OECD member countries is implicated in an estimated $8 billion to $32 billion in damages every year. These findings indicate that the costs of just one year of damage caused by these ECA-backed coal plants is likely far greater than the total finance provided by OECD ECAs.

Download the report here.