Trump’s funding for dirty coal plant in Vietnam would worsen climate crisis, undermine international agreement
New reports show smoke and mirrors obscure real emissions and policy violations
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As Trump’s Asia trip moves onto Vietnam in the backdrop of the United Nations climate negotiations, the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank is considering financing a coal power plant in the country, which, if approved, would be the first overseas coal plant financed by Ex-Im since 2011.
Friends of the Earth U.S. has produced two reports on Ex-Im’s potential financing for Vietnam’s planned Long Phu-1 coal plant, which document how the project will worsen climate change and violates international environmental policies, including restrictions on financing for coal plants abroad.
“Precisely as the world is focused on addressing climate devastation at the United Nations Conference of Parties in Germany, Trump is fomenting climate disaster in Vietnam. Ex-Im financing for Long Phu-1 will worsen climate change, pollute local communities, and violate precedent-setting international restrictions on coal financing,” said Doug Norlen, Director of the Economic Policy Program at Friends of the Earth U.S. “We are exposing the smoke and mirrors that project proponents are using in an attempt to violate policies and grab public funding.”
The first report, authored by Bruce Buckheit, former Director of EPA’s Air Enforcement Division, reveals how the project sponsor’s consulting firm, Environmental Resources Management (ERM), doctored the coal plant’s greenhouse gas emissions estimates to appear compliant with coal financing restrictions agreed upon by member governments of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
In the second report, Norlen details how the project violates a broader set of OECD export credit agency environmental and social policies that are prerequisites for funding.
Buckheit found that ERM inexplicably dismissed an engineering firm’s estimate placing Long Phu-1 efficiency levels within the range of “supercritical” coal plants, which are ineligible for financing under the OECD agreement. ERM then, in the absence of credible technical data, re-estimated the efficiency of the coal plant to be dramatically higher and within a range of “ultra-supercritical” plants that are eligible for financing under the OECD agreement.
Buckheit also found that:
- ERM’s efficiency estimates contradict those of GE, the designer and manufacturer of the plants’ turbines, which identify the technology as supercritical.
- Black & Veatch, which provides engineering design and management services for the project, also identifies the plant as supercritical.
- ERM cites supposedly forthcoming, yet unidentified efficiency improvements to achieve efficiency gains that have never been demonstrated anywhere in the world.
- ERM’s efficiency estimates failed to account for the energy used to run pumps, fans, pollution controls, and other auxiliary equipment at the plant, which will make the plant even less efficient.
“If Trump moves ahead with supporting the Long Phu-1 project, he will be opening the floodgates to coal financing, accelerating climate change,” said Kate DeAngelis, International Policy Analyst at Friends of the Earth U.S.
- The Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) is a federal agency that serves as the official export credit agency of the United States.
- The Long Phu-1 coal plant, the first in a planned three power plant complex, will be a 1,200 MW coal plant in Vietnam. Vietnam is currently seeking financing from a number of foreign governments, including the U.S., to help build the plant.