The European Investment Bank (EIB) tonight adopted its new energy lending policy, which would see it end funding to most new fossil fuel projects from the end of 2021 – in a big step forward in the campaign for a fossil-free Europe.
Under the policy, from the end of 2021 the world's biggest multilateral bank will end new lending to fossil fuel infrastructure projects. However, it would still be able to decide to fund more fossil fuel projects, particularly gas, until then. Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on the EIB to recognise the climate emergency and stop funding all fossil fuel projects immediately.
Colin Roche, fossil free campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, said:
"Today's decision is a significant victory for the climate movement. Finally, the world's largest public bank has bowed to public pressure and recognised that funding for all fossil fuels must end – and now all other banks, public and private, must follow their lead.
"But 2021 is still too late if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate breakdown, the EIB needs to reject all fossil fuel projects and close its loopholes for gas, and not wait till 2021."
WOW! In a significant victory for #climate movements the world's biggest public bank @EIB will stop funding (most) fossil fuel projects.— Friends of the Earth (@foeeurope) November 14, 2019
Every other money lender must now follow this lead & end the fossil fuel age
People power works #FossilFreeEIB https://t.co/igiOusfYWq
Pressure from the European Commission and some Member States has also ensured drafts of the policy contained a dangerous loophole which could allow continued funding for fossil gas projects beyond 2020. It would leave the door open to fund fossil gas projects on the promise that they use so-called "low-carbon gas" in the future – a term that is loosely-defined, and includes a number of fuels which still emit considerable greenhouse gases.
The final policy has been the subject of intense debate since its publication in July and has been watered down under pressure from Germany and the European Commission. The Commission continues to promote dozens of gas projects while Germany backs new infrastructure such as the gigantic Nord Stream II.
Colin Roche continued, "The laggards like Germany and the European Commission must now end their obsession with gas and focus on the emergency action needed to stop the climate crisis instead of building yet more gas projects to last for decades to come."
In a huge win for our @foeeurope allies and the planet, the European Investment Bank just agreed to stop funding most fossil fuel projects!— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) November 14, 2019
All other banks must follow their lead in taking substantive climate action. https://t.co/PLx7dd9iqO