Development Banks Still Financing Dirty Energy
New Database Reveals $40 Billion in Fossil Fuel Funding Over Last Four Years

Nov. 30, 2011, Durban, South Africa – Major multilateral development banks have provided financing of over $40 billion to fossil-fuel energy development since 2008, according to the new Shift the Subsidies database (, launched today by Oil Change International.   Over the same time period, clean energy projects have received only $25.5 billion from those banks.

The Subsidy Shift database covers all known loans, grants, and financial guarantees to the energy sector by the multilateral development banks.  All of these banks are supported by taxpayer money from the developed countries.

On Monday, in Durban at the United Nations climate talks, Jonathan Pershing, deputy special envoy on climate change for the United States., said that U.S. contributions to the fast-start climate finance facility agreed at the Copenhagen COP in 2009 included financing from multilateral banks.

“If the United States is going to claim credit for fast start finance commitments for clean energy projects, it’s only fair that they be docked for their fossil fuel finance from the same institutions,” said Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International.  “Unfortunately, as this new database shows, the U.S. and all developed nations continue to support fossil fuels significantly more than clean energy.”

The database also rates projects on whether or not they are intended to provide energy access for the poor.  For lending in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, only 10 percent of multilateral development bank financing addresses the grave need to provide energy access to the billions of people who live without modern energy.

“Bank officials justify their lending for fossil fuels by pointing to the need for energy access for the poor,” said Traci Romine, International Finance Campaign Director for Oil Change International. “We completely agree that energy access is an urgent priority, but the hidden truth is that only 10% of development bank lending supports this important goal.”

The database was developed with research from Oil Change International (OCI), CEE Bankwatch Network, and the Bank Information Center (BIC).  World Bank Group data is presented for FY2008 to FY2011.  Regional development bank data – including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) – covers the period from FY2008 to FY2010.


  • This is great to have the fossil fuel subsidies laid out for all to see.

    My personal contacts in the energy industry tell me that “there are no fossil fuel subsidies”… they actually believe it too. The talking point is “we do not get money from the government to go exploring”. Obviously, this simplistic statement overlooks the significant royalty holidays and tax breaks given to energy corporations.

    The leaders in the energy industry are out of touch with reality. Furthermore, their influence on PM Harper [Canada] is huge, and he tends to have the same opinions as the oil industry has. They are both wrong, and they are making decisions based on that wrong “information”.

    When I can get the page to load on this old computer, I will look at the subsidies website… I am sure things are explained there, and I will forward it to my contacts in the industry.

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