FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

15 October 2020

Contact:
Laurie van der Burg, laurie [at] priceofoil.org

Oil Change International Response to New Report Revealing that UKEF Switch to Renewables Could Deliver 42,000 Jobs

Today, a new report by Vivid Economics has found that a new UK Export Finance (UKEF) policy could deliver 42,000 jobs a year by 2035. It also reveals that the UK government is currently underwriting each oil and gas sector job to the tune of 250k (around 2bn a year), raising questions about whether insuring huge oil and gas companies is in the best use of the UK’s credit and if it could better be used to support small renewable companies and other green technologies of the future. In response, Laurie van der Burg, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International, issued the following statement:

“This report shows that the UK has a clear opportunity to show climate leadership and stop propping up deadly fossil fuels with public money.

“To ensure others follow suit, it should do so ahead of Finance in Common, the first global development bank Summit taking place next month. By investing in renewables and ensuring just transition support for oil and gas workers the UK can create reliable jobs that are critical to build back better from COVID-19.

“Internationally, the G20 export finance institutions still provide nearly 14 times as much financing for fossil fuels as for clean energy, actively throwing fuel on the fire. The UK is no exception. But today’s analysis shows that the UK can turn the tide, and create reliable jobs critical to build back better from COVID-19 in the process. Unlike France’s proposed policy to continue gas financing until 2035, the UK should set the right example and stop funding fossils by the end of 2021. We are looking at UKEF to join other leading institutions like the EIB in making a joint commitment to end fossil fuel finance imminently at the first global development bank Summit, Finance in Common, in one month from now.”

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Notes:

  • The report released by Vivid Economics can be found here.
  • Additional key findings from the report include:
    • If UKEF assumes liabilities for renewable exports to the same scale as it currently does for O&G exports, it could help support around 20,000 jobs per year, compared to 8,000 in O&G — a 100-250% increase.
    • As renewables are a more labor intensive industry, export credit agencies could support renewable energy companies by shouldering some of the risk in exporting overseas. UK Export Finance also has an absolute limit on the liabilities it can take on (this is set by parliament and more info on page 45) meaning that it has to choose whether or not to favor oil and gas companies over renewables. It should be noted that renewable companies are often smaller than oil and gas giants.
    • These findings are applicable to countries around the world putting the spotlight on export credit agencies around the world – particularly those involved in the recent controversial LNG project in Mozambique.

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