December 11, 2020


Laurie van der Burg,
Alex Doukas,

UK announces end to overseas fossil fuel finance, now other governments must follow suit

The United Kingdom’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, will commit to end the UK’s overseas fossil fuel financing “as soon as possible” at the Climate Ambition Summit. The phase-out of oil, gas, and coal financing applies to aid funding, trade promotion and export finance provided by UK Export Finance (UKEF), the institution that has come under scrutiny for its USD 1 billion investment in a controversial LNG project in Mozambique and for considering to finance the equally controversial East African Oil Pipeline. In response, Laurie van der Burg, Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International, released the following statement:

“This is a powerful signal that the era of governments propping up deadly fossil fuels with public money is coming to an end.” 

“But the devil is in the detail, and it is too early to say if the UK’s end to fossil fuel finance will set a gold standard for other countries to follow. That would require an immediate end to all new finance for oil, gas and coal and an end to domestic fossil fuel subsidies estimated at over USD 14 billion per year. Nevertheless, this announcement sets the direction of travel and is a win for UK campaigners and activists that have fought for this for years.”

“As host of the UN climate negotiations in 2021, the UK government should set the right example and ensure that other governments follow suit. This is much needed to ensure a recovery from COVID-19 that, instead of increasing dependence on deadly fossil fuels, works for people and the planet.” 

“This is a significant change, as in the last four years, the UK government supported GBP 21 billion of UK oil and gas exports through trade promotion and export finance, which has undermined the UK’s efforts to fight climate change domestically and led to human rights abuses overseas. It also makes the UK the first major country to move its Export Credit Agency (ECA) out of fossil fuels. Worldwide, the ECAs of the G20 countries still provide nearly fourteen times as much support for fossil fuels (USD 40 billion) as for clean energy (USD 3 billion) every year.”



  • Initial reporting on the announcement from Reuters here.
  • OCI and Friends of the Earth US research mapping G20 public finance for energy, showing that the G20 governments public finance averages $77 billion a year — three times the support they provide for clean energy.
  • The Energy Policy Tracker is an initiative led by IISD and supported by 20 other research organizations, think tanks and NGOs, including OCI, that tracks public money for energy in COVID-19 recovery packages.