G20 countries need to stop using export credit agencies to finance fossil fuel projects

(FOE US, Washington, 16 October 2017) Although at least seven major countries — including Canada, France, and Germany — have made commitments to phase out coal power domestically, their export credit agencies, or ECAs, have poured money into coal plants and other fossil fuel projects in other countries. According to a new report by Friends of the Earth U.S. and Oil Change International, ECAs annually fund $32 billion worth of projects in the oil and gas sector alone. That is 11 times more than what ECAs provide to clean energy projects. The OECD Export Credit Group has implemented restrictions on financing of some coal plants but unfortunately, these restrictions are not enough to stem the destructive financing of ECAs. Key findings of the report include: From 2013 to 2015, G20 ECAs provided 12 times as much support to fossil fuels as clean energy; ECAs provided over $32 billion annually to support oil and gas projects; Japan is the worst offender, providing over $13 billion annually to fossil fuels, followed by Korea and the United States supporting almost $8 and almost $6 billion annually, respectively. An end to ECA’s support of fossil fuels would probably stop many dangerous projects from going forward. One is a coal plant in Vietnam — Long Phu 1 — that would produce at least 6.3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. Another project is the development of liquefied natural gas in northern Mozambique, which has already destroyed the land of local communities and endangers unique ecosystems such as mangroves and coral reefs. The president of the World Bank recently noted that plans to build more coal-fired power plants in Asia would be a “disaster for the planet” and overwhelm the deal forged at Paris to fight climate change. The report recommends that all ECAs disclose the amount and nature of all fossil fuel-related transactions, as well as information on their decision making process, and formulate policies to phase out all support for fossil fuels. The report follows an NGO coalition's July 2017 report showing G20 nations provide four times more public financing to fossil fuels than to renewable energy.