July 27, 2020

Laurie van der Burg, laurie [at]
Alex Doukas, alex [at]

Oil Change International: Long overdue end to the UK’s overseas finance for fossil fuels should not leave any loopholes

London, 27 July 2020 — Today, The Times reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to end Britain’s support for dirty oil and gas projects overseas “for fear of tarnishing the country’s reputation on climate change.” Johnson has ordered a review of the use of publicly-backed government guarantees for fossil fuel projects abroad. 

This review comes at a critical time as the UK prepares to host COP26 and is facing criticism for its decision to support a massive gas project in Mozambique with £900 million in government-backed loans and guarantees. 

For a new policy to meet climate goals, it needs to rule out fossil fuel support without loopholes. The ban should cover gas and all infrastructure facilitating the fossil fuel industry. Gas is not a transition fuel and its expansion is incompatible with limiting global heating to 1.5°C. The ban should also apply to the UK’s recently greenlighted support for gas in Mozambique, which, as reported, is a tale of climate disaster, human rights violations and corruption and does not serve local communities in Mozambique.

Laurie van der Burg, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International, said:

“This review of taxpayer-backed support for oil and gas overseas is long overdue. For the UK to be credible as a COP26 host, it should end all overseas and domestic finance and subsidies for oil and gas production. Emissions from oil, gas and coal in already-operating fields and mines globally will push the world far beyond 1.5°C of warming.”

“Locking countries into oil and gas is also not the right bet for development. Before COVID-19 hit, the oil and gas sector was already showing signs of permanent decline. Nigeria, Iraq, and other lower-income oil producers have repeatedly faced massive budget crunches because of market volatility, and COVID-19 will not be the last shock. To protect people and the planet, the UK must join the growing list of countries and institutions that are restricting fossil fuel production and finance by making sure no more money goes to support fossil fuel expansion.” 


Oil Change International is a research, communication, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the coming transition towards clean energy.