WASHINGTON, Oct 12 (Reuters) – The Asian Development Bank’s chief said on Tuesday said the lender will boost its climate financing goals by $20 billion to a new target of $100 billion for the 2019-2030 period and aims to launch its concept for retiring coal-fired power plants at the COP26 climate conference in Scotland next month.

The plans, disclosed by ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa in an interview with Reuters, increase a previous $80 billion goal for climate financing for developing countries in Asia for the decade announced in 2018.

“The fight against climate change will be won or lost in Asia and the Pacific, and we are committed to serving as a climate bank and a long term climate partner for our region,” Asakawa said.

The additional $20 billion in financing support will provide support for climate mitigation efforts including low-carbon energy sources, climate adaptation projects and private sector projects.

Asakawa said ADB now plans for $66 billion in financing for climate mitigation financing through 2030, including for new energy storage, energy efficiency and low-carbon transportation investments. The Manila-based lender will plan for climate adaptation financing of $34 billion, including agriculture, urban and water adaptation projects.

The bank also plans to boost its private sector operations to attract more private sector capital to finance new climate technologies and innovations, using $12 billion from its balance sheet to attract up to $30 billion in new private capital, due to increased demand for such financing, Asakawa said.

The plans were presented on Tuesday to U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who had convened a meeting with multilateral development banks, including ADB and the World Bank, to discuss their efforts to boost climate financing in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Reuters first reported in August that ADB was working with major financial firms to develop a mechanism to buy up coal-fired power plants in Asia and retire them early to shrink the biggest source of carbon emissions. read more

Asakawa said the group has finished an initial feasibility study and is now embarking on a longer study of the concept in three target countries — Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia.

ADB and its partners, including British insurer Prudential (PRU.L), lenders Citi (C.N) and HSBC (HSBA.L) and BlackRock Real Assets (BLK.N), are aiming to complete and launch a pilot investment fund in 2022 and make its initial power plant purchase next year or early 2023.

The concept is not included in the ADB’s overall climate financing goals, because most of the money will come from private investors and donor sources, including philanthropists, he said.

“Even now, some philanthropists have already shown interest in investing in this new initiative. So we plan to launch the ETM at COP26 in Glasgow,” Asakawa said.

He said he hoped to present the concept at COP26 along with Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Philippines finance minister Carlos Dominguez, two of the “pilot countries” in the project.

He added that there is interest among other developing countries in Asia to participate in the coal retirement plans, with “more and more” countries likely to join the initiative later.

Reporting by David Lawder
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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