FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nicole Rodel, Oil Change International – firstname.lastname@example.org
Over 250 organizations back groundbreaking efforts by OECD countries to end $41 billion a year in fossil fuel finance
- Over 250 organizations from 30 countries call on governments to support fellow OECD members’ efforts to end oil and gas export finance at OECD meeting on 6 November 2023.
- Proposal could end USD 41 billion per year flowing from government-run Export Credit Agencies to fossil fuels, and free it up for clean energy instead
- Initiative is being championed by the European Union, UK, and Canada.
Monday 30 October 2023 – As Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) delegates prepare to meet in Paris from November 6-10, over 250 civil society organizations (CSOs) from 30 countries published an open letter calling on negotiators to support an end to OECD export finance for fossil fuels. Signatories include Amnesty International, Greenpeace International, and Friends of the Earth International.
The Financial Times (FT) has revealed that the UK and the EU will put forward proposals for doing so, with Canada planning to back the UK’s proposal. These efforts can end the USD 41 billion per year flowing to fossil fuel projects from government-run OECD export credit agencies (ECAs).
The OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits sets rules that all OECD country ECAs must follow. OECD countries have previously placed extensive restrictions on the financing of coal, and civil society is now calling on restrictions to cover oil and gas too. Ending OECD oil and gas support is critical to limit global heating to 1.5°C. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has established that no new coal, oil, fossil gas supply or LNG infrastructure investments are compatible with a 1.5°C warming limit.
The proposal is expected to attract significant support, since over 50% of OECD countries already signed on to the Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP), an international commitment forged in Glasgow in 2021 under which signatories promised to end their international public finance for fossil fuels by the end of 2022 and support efforts to advance this agenda elsewhere, “in particular at the OECD.”
The civil society letter, addressed to CETP signatory country negotiators in the OECD, calls on them to live up to their commitment and support the UK’s and the EU’s efforts to end public finance for fossil fuels. Canada is already planning to do so. According to the Financial Times, Canada’s finance department stated it “looked forward to working alongside like-minded partners at the OECD and in other international forums to grow and promote the clean economy around the world”.
Oil Change International research shows that OECD ECAs provided an average of $41 billion per year in export support to fossil fuels between 2018 and 2020, almost five times more than their clean energy export finance ($8.5 billion). This directly contradicts international climate goals, including the CETP and the Paris Agreement objective to align financial flows with the low-carbon energy transition. OECD ECAs are particularly responsible for advancing large fossil fuel infrastructure projects that enable the rest of the industry, for example investing in 56 percent of new hazardous liquified gas (LNG) export terminal capacity built in the last decade (providing at least $81 billion total).
The initial OECD proposal is expected to kick-off a period of negotiations on oil and gas export finance restrictions at the OECD starting on 6 November. These negotiations will succeed only if and when a large enough number of OECD members support the proposed restrictions. By doing so, OECD members have a historic opportunity to not only avoid breaching climate goals, but also stranded fossil fuel assets.
Nina Pusic, Strategist at Oil Change International, said: “This is the moment where OECD countries can turn their words into action. Will they live up to the pledge most of them made in Glasgow in 2021 to end international public finance for fossil fuels at the OECD? All eyes are on them, the world is watching. Immediate action is necessary to align global financial flows with a habitable climate future, and this November represents a critical opportunity that we can’t afford to miss.”
Kate DeAngelis, Senior International Finance Program Manager at Friends of the Earth United States, said: “We have waited long enough for the United States, and other wealthy historical emitters, to be a force for good at the OECD. The U.S. must turn away from its multi-billion dollar fossil financing and support the UK and Canada proposal, leading the push to finally end export credit agency support for fossil fuels.”
Yuki Tanabe, Program Director at Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society (JACSES), said: “Japan should not be a blocker at the OECD negotiations and should agree to end its public finance for fossil fuel projects. Ammonia and hydrogen co-firing should not be exempted as ‘abatement’ technologies, since the current co-firing development roadmap is not in line with the Paris goals”
Samuel Okulony, Chief Executive Officer at Environment Governance Institute Uganda (EGI), said: “The impacts of climate change in Africa are a matter of life and death, and Japan, Korea and other OECD countries should listen to the lived realities of global south communities, who have been devastated by the impacts of climate change for decades. It is imperative that these countries make resolute commitments, support a resolution to stop public financing for fossil fuels at the OECD, and demand the global community align itself with the commitments to keep the 1.5°C target alive.”
- Report by Oil Change International and partners outlines that between 2018-2020, OECD countries’ Export Credit Agencies on average supported at least 41 billion USD in fossil fuel infrastructure globally.
- The OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits (the Arrangement) provides a soft law framework for ECAs of OECD countries, and is the only multilateral body that specifically regulates ECA standards.
- The civil society letter launched today advocates for the implementation of the Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP), an already-existing international commitment that 52% of OECD negotiating countries signed onto, including the United States, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
- CETP signatories promised to end new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022. The pledge explicitly commits signatories to “driving multilateral negotiations in international bodies, in particular in the OECD, to review, update and strengthen their governance frameworks to align with the Paris Agreement goals”.
- In 2015, the OECD Arrangement adopted the Coal Fired-Power Sector Understanding (CFSU), which heavily limited OECD-member export credit agencies (ECAs) support for coal-fired power plants after 2017. Although far from 1.5°C-aligned, the CFSU highlighted the potential of the OECD to respond to the growing threat of climate catastrophe. In January 2022, the CFSU was replaced with a new prohibitive clause on export credits for new unabated coal-fired electricity generation plants.