G7 ministers pledge end to fossil fuel finance amid signs of backsliding on commitments

(Global Trade Review, London, 1 June 2022) Following talks in Berlin on May 27, G7 climate, energy and environment ministers issued a communique in which they promised to halt new public finance for the unabated fossil fuel sector by the end of the year, except in “limited circumstances clearly defined by each country that are consistent with a 1.5 degrees Celsius warming limit”. All G7 nations bar Japan – one of the world’s largest financiers of oil, gas and coal – made a near identical pledge at the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow in November. [Japan however did join this recent G7 statement.] Data from Oil Change International show G7 countries have upped their exposure to fossil fuels since 2017, despite growing climate concerns. Between 2018 and 2020, they provided US$100bn towards oil, gas and coal projects through export credit agencies (ECAs) or development finance institutions – over four times their contribution towards clean energy. Western ECAs have broadly moved to cut their exposure to fossil fuels, with members of the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits formally banning support for unabated coal-fired power projects in late 2021, despite reported pushback from certain countries, including Japan and Australia, to the proposal.