11 June 2014

Elizabeth Bast, ebast [at] priceofoil [dot] org

International NGOs Call on Governments to #EndCoalFinance

On Monday, June 16 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)’s Export Credit Group will meet to discuss climate and energy related financing through Export Credit Agencies – public agencies that fund or guarantee private corporations from their home country to invest or export overseas.

International civil society organizations are targeting governments today, Wednesday, June 11, to call for an end to public finance for coal. A Twitterstorm will urge OECD governments to end financing and guarantees for coal through Export Credit Agencies.

Last week in Brussels, G7 nations confirmed their commitment “to the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and continued discussions in the OECD on how export credits can contribute to our common goal to address climate change.”

In the Export Credit Group meeting, governments will be considering a proposal from the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands to open a process to adopt restrictions for financing high carbon intensity projects (primarily coal power plants).

This opportunity to end Export Credit Agency financing for coal is a key part of the larger effort to end public financing for fossil fuels and high carbon projects.[1]

“The time for government support for dirty coal, oil and gas is over,” said Elizabeth Bast of Oil Change International. “To have any chance of avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, we must rapidly shift our energy systems away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy. Governments can support a clean energy transition by agreeing now to stop propping up the antiquated and polluting fossil fuel industries with scarce public resources – and agreeing to provide public financing and guarantees to only the cleanest energy options.”

Between 2007 and 2013 public financial institutions provided at least $51 billion in funding for coal projects abroad.  The largest proportion of this comes from national Export Credit Agencies from OECD countries, which have provided at least $32 billion over this period or 63 percent of total public support.[2]

Over the past year, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development have committed to ending support for coal projects except in limited circumstances. The US, the UK, the Netherlands and Nordic countries have made similar commitments to end public finance for coal projects overseas.

Given the improvements in multilateral practice, it is increasingly likely that OECD Export Credit Agencies could end up as a place of last resort for carbon intensive industries that are no longer able to secure funding due to their high risk and poor environmental performance.

For more information on the Twitterstorm, go here:

The joint NGO statement by 51 groups in 17 countries urging an end export credit support for fossil fuels is here:


[1] According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), to stay within a 2°C global temperature rise – a level climate scientists believe would allow us to avoid the worst impacts of climate change: at least two thirds of current proven fossil fuel reserves need to stay underground.

[2] According to data compiled by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Oil Change International. These staggering statistics probably under-estimate the total amount due to lack of reporting by many of these shadowy institutions.