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ING to stop funding utilities which rely too much on coal

LONDON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - ING by the end of 2025 will stop funding any utility company which relies on coal for more than 5 percent of its energy, the Dutch bank said on Tuesday.

It will, however, continue to help companies with renewable energy projects and also support new clients whose reliance on coal is less than 10 percent as long as they have a strategy in place to cut that to close to zero by 2025.

The bank also said it would phase out lending to individual coal-fired power plants over the same period.

The move is an acceleration of ING's efforts in the global transition to a low-carbon economy, agreed through a 2015 global accord on climate change in Paris. It comes as a group of top investors said they would put more pressure on the biggest emitters.

"We realize that contributing to the Paris Agreement targets is also about making clear choices in what we'll no longer finance, especially when there are good alternatives available," ING Vice Chairman Koos Timmermans said in a statement.

"We are taking this decisive step as part of our overall ambition to support the energy transition."

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting a climate summit this week where he will press rich countries to increase financing for dealing with climate change.

French insurer AXA said on Tuesday it would quadruple its investment in environmentally friendly projects by 2020 to 9 billion euros ($10.6 billion) and divest further from the coal industry. (Reporting by Simon Jessop and Nina Chestney; editing by Jason Neely)