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Call for world leaders to end public finance for fossil fuels in 2021

By Practical Action On 23.09.2021


Practical Action has joined more than 200 organisations from over 40 countries in calling for an end to international public finance for coal, oil and gas.

The appeal to world leaders comes one day before they meet to discuss the energy transition.

International Energy Agency modelling that shows limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires ending all investments in new oil and gas fields and coal mines in 2021 and rapidly winding down existing fossil fuel production and use.

However, G20 member countries still provide at least three times as much public finance for fossil fuels ($77bn) as for clean energy ($28bn) every year.

New data also shows the amount of fossil fuel finance provided by the richest countries is also still higher than their estimated level of finance to support climate change.

Clean alternatives such as wind and solar are already cost-competitive and provide for clean cooking and electricity needs in the Global South. New public financial support to oil and gas risks locking-in outdated energy infrastructure in the places that most critically need public investments in clean energy.

Mattia VianelloHead of Energy at Practical Action, Mattia Vianello said: “Only by diverting public funding from fossil fuels to clean energy solutions can we aim to truly achieve universal access to modern energy in a short time and without further compromising our planet and people’s health.

“If we are to do so, we would enable hundreds of millions of people to access clean energy for their homes and for productive uses. In doing so, they could earn more access clinics and schools with electricity and cook with fuels and stoves which don’t harm their health.”

The statement comes as momentum builds on shifting public finance out of fossil fuels, with the United Kingdom (UK) adopting a new policy in March this year that put an end to new international public finance for coal, oil and gas. The European Investment Bank, the Dutch development bank FMO and the French Development Agency have also adopted restrictions to their oil and gas financing. But the CSOs say these efforts need to accelerate in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The signatories call on progressive governments and public finance institutions to launch a joint commitment on ending public finance for fossil fuels at COP26. They look to the UK to deliver on this agenda as part of its promise to lead efforts to collectively shift overseas finance from fossil fuels to clean energy.

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network International, said: “We can’t afford any more fossil fuels. Governments and public finance institutions have a responsibility to invest in a just energy transition shifting public finance out of coal, oil and gas and into renewable energy and supporting coal, oil and gas workers and communities. We call on governments and public finance institutions to demonstrate increased political leadership on energy finance to ensure a sustainable, equitable and safe future for all.”
To arrange an interview with Mattia, or a member of Practical Action staff working in renewable energy – or for film or audio content demonstrating the impact of energy access, please contact Andrew Heath on (+44) (0)7800 884267.