EU and UK seek ban on ECA subsidies for foreign fossil fuel projects

(Financial Times, Brussels, 29 October 2023) The UK and EU will push the world’s richest countries to end subsidies for foreign oil and gas operations and coal mining at a closed-door OECD meeting next month, according to people familiar with the matter. The proposal to cut off the biggest foreign source of public finance for fossil fuels is expected to spark heated negotiations at the OECD’s Paris headquarters. The move builds on a commitment by some OECD countries to align public finance institutions with Paris agreement goals to limit global warming to well below 2C and ideally 1.5C above preindustrial levels. But the effort to end subsidies for foreign projects will draw attention to the prevalence of domestic subsidies for oil and gas industries, even as a global deal to end fossil fuel production without the emissions captured at the upcoming UN COP28 climate summit looks increasingly unlikely. Ending export credit agencies’ provision of loans and guarantees for fossil fuel projects would be “an essential first step to keeping our international climate goals within reach”, said Nina Pušić, an export finance climate strategist at the US environment campaign group Oil Change International.