EU Commission underscores the role of ECAs in achieving Paris goals

(ECA Watch & Both ENDS, Amsterdam, 24 August 2017) In response to a European Greens Parliamentary question, Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade, replied on behalf of the Commission that: "While in the understanding of the Commission the Paris Agreement does not directly address the export credit activities of the Member States, its core objectives should also be duly taken into account in this area [i.e. ECAs] like in all areas of government activity." The EC rightly recalls that the Coal-Fired Electricity Generation Projects Sector Understanding (CFSU) was a political contribution of the OECD Export Credit Group (ECG) to the Paris Agreement on climate action. However, even before closing the negotiations on the CFSU the International Energy Agency stated that, in order to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, new coal-fired power plants as well as at least two thirds of the existing stock should be closed by 2035. As a typical coal fired power plant has a life span of 30-40 years, the rationale of ECA support for all new coal-fired power plant thus is questionable. Last June, Both ENDS published a report that shows that 2/3 of the insured value of projects supported by the Dutch export credit agency, i.e. € 7.3 billion between 2012 & 2015, was for the fossil fuel sector. ADSB’s support for renewable energy projects in this period was only 1% of the insured value for energy-supporting projects. Overall OECD ECA data shows that between 2005 & 2014 38% of non renewable electric power generation projects worth US$35 billion (5.6% of total OECD ECA business) went to coal, 42% to Natural Gas and 17% to oil/diesel - i.e 97% to fossil fuels. Renewable electric power projects in that period were worth US$19.5 billion or 3.1% of OECD ECA business.  This underscores the need for all OECD governments to review whether and how publicly backed ECAs effectively contribute to the Paris Agreement goals.​