October 12, 2017

Alex Doukas, alex [at], +1 202 817 0357
Helena Wright, helena.wright [at], +44 7828 250473

Briefings: Multilateral Development Banks Still Fund Billions in Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

Only a Few Major Banks Are Taking Climate Action, Despite Paris Agreement

On the eve of the 2017 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund, Oil Change International and E3G have launched briefings showing that while some multilateral development banks are making good progress on climate action, many are still financing billions of dollars in fossil fuel projects despite mounting climate impacts and global commitments like the Paris Agreement reached in December 2015.

Both briefings are part of the Big Shift Campaign, a global effort composed of dozens of civil society organizations encouraging government-backed multilateral development banks to reinforce the aims of the Paris Agreement and commit to a shift from fossil fuel finance to clean energy finance.

“This year’s massive hurricanes in the Atlantic and Caribbean and devastating floods in South Asia should be a wake-up call to the World Bank and other institutions who claim to care about climate change,” said Alex Doukas, Stop Funding Fossils Program Director at Oil Change International. “If they really want to help lift people out of poverty, taxpayer-funded banks can no longer finance climate destruction, which is killing thousands and making the poor poorer. They must stop funding fossils.”

Read the Oil Change International briefing, “Cross Purposes: After Paris, Multilateral Development Banks Still Funding Billions in Fossil Fuels.”

Dr. Helena Wright, Senior Policy Advisor at E3G, said, “While some progress has been made, development banks must do more to green their investments. As a first step, the banks should commit to ending finance for fossil fuel exploration and provide transparency about project emissions.”

Read the E3G briefing, “Greening Financial Flows: What Progress Has Been Made in the Development Banks?”

Key Findings:

  • Government-backed Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) are not greening their investments fast enough. While overall spending on climate-related activities is higher than on fossil fuels, there is still a lack of progress in phasing out fossil fuel investments and increasing climate finance.
  • MDBs approved over $5 billion in fossil fuel finance in 2016, despite the Paris Agreement being reached in December 2015, analysis by Oil Change International shows.
  • The Inter-American Development Bank is a leader among MDBs, with the highest green-to-brown ratio. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank Group have emerged with the lowest green-to-brown ratio among MDBs, E3G analysis shows.
  • E3G analysis found that some projects reported as climate finance were in fact fossil fuel projects instead. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development provided funding to an offshore gas exploration project in Azerbaijan, the Lukoil Shah Deniz Stage II project, and counted $10m as climate finance.
  • As a first step towards phasing out support for oil and gas, both newly released briefings conclude that MDBs should stop all remaining support for coal and commit to ending finance for exploration of fossil fuels. The African Development Bank and Asian Development Bank have already excluded financing for fossil fuel exploration based on financial risks, and the other MDBs should follow suit.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Big Shift Campaign is a coalition of more than 30 national, regional, and international organisations calling on the World Bank to shift its investments from fossil fuels to clean energy and to provide much greater transparency about the impact that investments in energy are having on the lives of men, women, and children.
  • The World Bank’s directors convene for their Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., from October 13 to 15, 2017.

Oil Change International’s briefing, “Cross Purposes: After Paris, Multilateral Development Banks Still Funding Billions in Fossil Fuels,” can be found at:

E3G’s briefing, “Greening Financial Flows: What Progress Has Been Made in the Development Banks?” can be found at: