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Societe Generale to stop all coal-related lending in move towards renewables

French bank Societe Generale will stop all lending to coal-based projects by the start of 2017 and plans to double its investment in renewables by 2020.01 Nov 2016

The move is a continuation of environmental commitments made for COP21 and ensures the bank "is consistent with the International Energy Agency’s 2DS scenario, which aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius," Societe Generale said.

The bank will also scale back its outstanding loans to the coal industry, with the goal of reducing the proportion of coal-fuelled share in power production financed by Societe Generale to 19% by 2020, it said.

At the same time, Societe Generale will continue to increase project financing in renewable energy, it said.

In 2016 "Societe Generale maintained its position among the world leaders in this area", it said, and "was involved in 100% of all offshore wind farm projects financed in Europe", it said.

Severin Cabannes, deputy chief executive of Societe Generale said: "A year after the pledges we made for COP 21, these latest decisions mark a new step forward for the bank in favour of the climate. They reflect Societe Generale’s commitment to responsible financing as a way of developing a low-carbon economy. With a long-standing and established presence in the energy sector, the bank intends to be a major financer of the energy transition and undertakes to support its clients in this necessary area."

The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last week that renewable energy has surpassed coal to become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world.

The IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Market Report has raised its forecast for renewables growth between 2015 and 2021 by 13% compared to last year’s forecast, due mostly to stronger policy backing in the United States, China, India and Mexico, it said.

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