January 27, 2021

Alex Doukas,
Collin Rees,
David Turnbull,

Oil Change International response to Biden executive order on international fossil finance

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, President Biden signed an executive order outlining a number of actions related to climate change. Oil Change International released a statement earlier today responding to many of those actions, particularly pausing leasing for fossil fuels on federal lands and waters. With the publication of the Executive Order itself, an additional critical action has been identified: moving to eliminate public finance for fossil fuels internationally, in addition to domestic fossil fuel subsidies. See sections 102(f), 102(h), and 209.

In response, Alex Doukas, Stop Funding Fossils Program Director at Oil Change International released the following statement:

“For decades, the fossil fuel industry has benefited from government-backed financing and fiscal support at the expense of communities and the environment. Today, with the stroke of a pen from President Biden, that begins to change.

“Not only has President Biden instructed federal agencies to identify and remove domestic fossil fuel subsidies wherever they are able to, he has also instructed the relevant departments and agencies to use the diplomatic weight of the United States to end international public finance for fossil fuels as well. This would be a huge boost to climate action globally. The administration must now invest serious effort and diplomatic capacity to secure this shift in international finance away from oil, gas, and coal.

“U.S. international finance institutions have a long history of backing massive oil, gas and coal projects with devastating impacts on human rights and vulnerable communities around the world. Steeped in a legacy of fossil-fueled colonialism, these projects often directly benefit corporations in the United States yet leave communities, workers, and developing countries to deal with the damage. 

“Today’s announcement by President Biden comes on the heels of recent commitments from the United Kingdom and European Union to end their international public finance for fossil fuels, and adds to the snowballing momentum and pressure for other governments and institutions to follow suit. If the U.S., EU, and UK join forces to end the tens of billions of dollars per year in public finance for fossil fuels, they can work together to make this a reality by the UN climate summit in Glasgow this November.

“Eliminating public finance for fossil fuels internationally won’t be an easy task — public finance institutions from G20 nations alone provide more than $77 billion in annual support for fossil fuels. Finally ending fossil fuel handouts will require significant diplomatic and political capital to break the status quo, but the impacts would be massive.”


Notes to Editors