UK considers ending financial support for fossil fuels overseas – The Guardian

The UK authorities is contemplating steps to finish its ongoing monetary help for fossil fuels abroad after utilizing £3.5bn of public funds to help polluting tasks since signing the Paris local weather settlement.

Senior civil servants are understood to be planning a brand new local weather technique that will part out monetary help for oil and gasoline infrastructure in growing international locations forward of the UN’s Cop26 worldwide local weather talks subsequent 12 months.

The talks come amid rising outcry from MPs and marketing campaign teams over the federal government’s persevering with monetary help for fossil gasoline tasks in Africa and south-ease Asia by its overseas finance establishments.

Separate investigations by campaigners, to be revealed this week, reveal that the federal government has provided billions of pounds-worth of abroad fossil gasoline financing because the Paris local weather accord was agreed in 2016, and cast shut hyperlinks with the fossil gasoline trade by a collection of hospitality occasions and presents. 

UK Export Finance (UKEF), a authorities credit score company, has provided loans, ensures and insurance coverage value at the very least £3bn to UK corporations concerned in overseas fossil gasoline tasks because the Paris local weather settlement, in response to figures unearthed by International Justice Now.

The marketing campaign group discovered that the federal government’s improvement financial institution, CDC Group, has straight invested at the very least £300m in high-emissions tasks in Africa and south Asia, together with fossil gasoline energy crops and cement-making.

CDC’s oblique investments embody £34.5m for the African Infrastructure Funding Fund III, which has invested a few of this cash in 4 totally different fossil gasoline tasks, in response to International Justice.

Daniel Willis, a local weather campaigner with International Justice, mentioned the monetary help provided by the monetary establishments and different assist because the Paris settlement in 2016 has totalled £3.5bn.

“For the federal government to point out actual local weather management forward of Cop26 and help a world inexperienced restoration from Covid-19, it wants to finish these extremely damaging investments,” he mentioned.

A separate investigation by International Witness has discovered that 96% of the presents and hospitality accepted by UKEF up to now 20 years associated to the vitality sector had been paid for by main fossil gasoline corporations, together with Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil enterprise Saudi Aramco and Gazprom, which is owned by the Russian authorities.

The presents embody Nokia cellphones from Sabic, a petrochemical firm owned by Saudi Aramco, and journeys value a number of thousand kilos to go to a gasoline challenge in Russia that was paid for by Gazprom.

A modest 4% of UKEF’s vitality trade hospitality occasions had been linked to renewable vitality corporations, in response to the report.

Adam McGibbon, a senior campaigner at International Witness, mentioned UKEF’s hospitality data “underline simply how in mattress they’re with a few of the world’s largest polluters”.

“Hospitality presents are extra than simply pleasantries; they’re a tried and examined approach for giant enterprise to keep up affect over coverage. When the UK-hosted Cop26 lastly occurs in 2021, ending the hypocrisy of exporting air pollution overseas shall be a key take a look at of simply how critical this authorities is about preventing local weather change,” he mentioned.

A UKEF spokesperson mentioned the company helped UK exports “in all sectors”, and was “proactively growing the breadth of our help for renewable sectors”. UKEF has allotted £2bn to its direct lending facility for clear progress and renewable vitality tasks, the company added.

Each UKEF and CDC have elevated the proportion of renewable vitality inside their monetary help for vitality tasks. A CDC spokesman mentioned the event financial institution will reveal its new local weather technique later this 12 months, which is able to prioritise funding in renewable vitality over fossil fuels. 

Authorities officers are understood to be cautious of calling for fossil gasoline financing to be dominated out completely on the expense of serving to growing international locations obtain different improvement objectives, together with entry to dependable electrical energy for nearly 1 billion individuals for the primary time.

This stance would probably draw criticism from environmentalists and MPs who consider renewable vitality might assist energy growing economies.

The Labour occasion chief, Keir Starmer, earlier than his election as chief of the opposition, mentioned earlier this 12 months that “reasonably than funding fossil gasoline tasks overseas, we should always use our improvement funds and technical experience to assist different international locations skip our unhealthy habits and develop their very own low-carbon economies on renewables as an alternative”.

A spokesperson for the Division of Worldwide Growth mentioned the UK authorities had agreed that “all future assist spend shall be aligned with the Paris settlement” and final 12 months doubled its funding to assist growing international locations sort out local weather change.

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