Joint letter from 125 international CSOs to global leaders at COP28 calling for transformative public finance for a globally just energy transition

(ECA-Watch, 1 December 2023) As climate disasters intensify and as more people than ever are forced to choose between heating and eating, or transport and shelter, we called on the leaders of our governments and public finance institutions to work together at COP28 to end the fossil fuel era and build in its place a 100% renewable economy that works for everyone. There is no shortage of public money available to do this, it is just poorly distributed, flowing to fossil fuels and the super-rich instead of shared priorities. Some ECAs and insurers have dialled back their involvement in traditional energy sector projects in recent years, but renewable energy still only accounts for about 5% of total new longer-tenor commitments. Such support is less than the US$12bn provided to the natural resources industry – which includes the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons – and the US$18bn supplied to traditional energy projects. This is because a handful of Global North governments and corporations hold outsized control over global monetary, trade, tax, and debt rules as well as our international financial institutions (IFIs). At COP28, public finance finds itself at a crossroads. IFIs and the Global North governments who largely control them must stop their over reliance on the private sector as the vehicle to fund climate solutions — an approach that has consistently under delivered and often caused great harm. We urgently need public finance policy, priorities, and governance to push instead towards a 1.5C-aligned just energy transition rooted in collective wellbeing and global and local equity. To do this, we will need to transform public finance institutions to be equitable, democratic, rights-upholding, feminist, sustainable, and transparent. We will also need to write new financial architecture rules that will ensure Global North governments and corporations pay their fair share for the crises we face, and also prioritize channeling finance for a just transition though institutions which are democratically accountable to Global South countries and peoples. We have enough money to have a full, fast, fair, and funded fossil fuel phase out and build a fair and 100% renewable economy in its place, what is lacking is political courage. For the sake of people and planet, COP28 must mark a turning point in your approach to public finance. Organizations wishing to add their support for this call may add their signatures to the letter after release through this link