A new report released today by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the UK concludes that wealthy, economically diversified countries, which currently account for more than a third of global oil and gas production, need to phase out their extraction by 2034 for the world to maintain a 50% chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C. This analysis, which is the first study to assign dates at which countries should phase out their production of oil and gas on the basis of equity, also highlights that a globally just transition will require wealthy countries to fund a systemic transition away from fossil fuels in the Global South, over and above their existing debts for climate finance and reparations.
This increases the number of signatories to 30 and the annual average of potential public finance shifted out of fossil fuels and into clean energy to at least USD 23.6 billion per year. This equals 37% of annual public finance for fossil fuels provided by G20 countries and the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) between 2018 and 2020.
Today the United States and over 20 other countries and institutions from both developed and developing countries committed to end direct international public finance for unabated coal, oil and gas by the end of 2022 and prioritize clean energy finance.
President Biden has continued to approve fossil fuel expansion in recent months, while pointing to Congress to excuse the United States’ lack of climate ambition and espousing false solutions like carbon capture and “net zero” plans that perpetuate fossil fuel destruction and environmental racism.
There is growing recognition that central banks must act to confront the climate crisis. They have the tools to catalyze and accelerate the end of financing for fossil fuels – through monetary policy, regulatory action, and excluding fossil fuel assets from their own portfolios. But, with only limited exceptions, they are not using these tools. This report identifies 10 criteria for assessing central banks against the Paris Agreement’s objective, and applies them to assess 12 major central banks.
Today, 353 organizations from 58 countries released a letter calling on G7 leaders to stop financing fossil fuels; cancel debt payments in global South countries grappling with COVID-19 and climate impacts and pay their fair share of climate finance to global South countries for climate adaptation among other demands.
“Today’s announcement by President Biden on international fossil finance is welcome but the lack of firm commitments falls short. We urge the Biden administration to add a clear commitment to an immediate phase-out, with no loopholes for gas or any other continued fossil support.”
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the world’s largest multilateral lender, bigger even than the World Bank. As a public bank, it’s tasked with providing finance in the EU public interest, and it has an outsized influence on the EU’s energy system because of the private investment it can “crowd in” and the sheer amount of money it has at its disposal.
An influential British parliamentary committee has castigated the UK Government – which is paralysed by Brexit – for failing to respond adequately to the climate crisis as well as failing to reflect the urgency of that crisis in the way it funds development and climate-related projects abroad.
All financial institutions, public and private, including the World Bank, must still work toward aligning their finance with the aim of keeping global temperature increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius, but today, the World Bank set a high new bar in climate leadership.