European Development Finance Institutions fall short on climate ambition by allowing continued financing for fossil gasToday, one week ahead of the Finance in Common Summit, the Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI) announced joint ambitions for climate action. The institutions commit to full Paris alignment by 2022 and to end coal and fuel oil financing. For gas finance, they commit to “generally exclude [such finance] by 2030 at the latest”, but leave the room open to gas financing beyond 2030 in certain cases.
“If MDBs follow through on this commitment, we would expect the EBRD’s brand-new strategy to be obsolete within a year, given what will be required to truly align with the Paris Agreement ambition to limit warming to 1.5°C,” said Alex Doukas, Program Director at Oil Change International.
While the MDBs endorsed the Sustainable Development Goals, this new report shows that from 2014 through 2017, MDBs directed just 2% of their energy finance toward the off-grid and mini-grid energy solutions.
Overall, the MDBs are not financing energy access at nearly a sufficient level to meet the needs of energy-poor communities. Much of the energy access finance that is being provided is being directed to many of the communities that need it most. But even so, energy access is not reflected as a priority for the MDBs.
Yesterday, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) released a revised draft of its energy sector strategy. The draft of the new strategy is due to be finalized by the end of 2018, and will have bearing on billions of dollars in public finance for energy.
As EBRD and EIB prepare for their respective energy sector strategy reviews, 65 civil society groups from 28 countries released an open letter being sent to top EBRD and EIB officials demanding that they stop financing oil, gas, and coal projects.
Two important actions were added to the growing list of recent global steps curbing public finance for coal. First, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) joined the World Bank and European Investment Bank (EIB) in adopting a new Energy Strategy that significantly restricts support for coal power projects. As the second climate feat of the week, the U.S. government voted no on the Board of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a proposed coal power plant in Pakistan. However, even though the U.S. and several other countries voted no or abstained from supporting the Pakistan coal plant, the ADB board still had a simple majority, and therefore approved $900 million in funding for the 600 MW Jamshoro coal plant.
Whether you’re from Europe or the US, your tax dollars are helping them finance climate-damaging fossil fuel projects, thanks to the EBRD. But that can change.
Paying lip service to climate science and then running full speed ahead down the fossil fuel pathway to climate chaos is just another form of climate denial. We need our leaders to wake up and make some hard choices, commensurate with the difficult climate reality we face.