Civil societies say Germany's plan for export credit guarantees violates climate commitments

(Reuters, Berlin, 25 July 2023) Environmental groups on Tuesday criticized Germany's draft policy on export credit guarantees as too vague and soft on financing for natural gas projects, as Berlin attempts a balancing act between climate protection and energy security. Germany supports exports by offering guarantees for non-payment caused by economic and political factors, helping companies to secure political backing for their projects and better financing terms. On Monday, the economy ministry published its first draft guidelines for such guarantees for the energy, transport and industry sectors, tying them to climate protection targets. The guidelines set three categories for future projects: a positive green for projects contributing to achieving climate targets that would be eligible for government support, a neutral white for projects that do not make a significant contribution to climate goals but would still receive support, and a climate-damaging red to be excluded from such guarantees. But the draft drew heavy criticism from environmental organizations, which argued that Germany was breaking its international commitment to ending public financing for fossil fuels by the end of 2022, by offering too many exemptions for natural gas projects. "These plans highlight the German governments' shameless disrespect of its international commitments and climate goals," Martin Kaiser, executive director of Greenpeace Germany, said. At the 2021 United Nations COP26 climate summit, 20 countries, including Germany, promised to stop public funding for overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022. Environmental groups have raised concerns about Germany’s policy draft on export credit guarantees, stating that it is too vague and lenient regarding the financing of natural gas projects.