Rich Countries Subsidizing “Dash for Gas” in Developing World

(Energy Fuse, Washington, 7 June 2021) Rich countries are using public financing to expand the construction of natural gas infrastructure in poorer countries around the world. Public-financing of gas in the Global South exceeds that of renewable energy by a factor of four, according to a new report from the International Institute for Sustainable Development. The continued government-backed financing of fossil fuels in low- and middle-income countries puts climate goals at risk and threatens to lock in infrastructure for decades to come. The investment “risks driving a new dash for gas locks countries into a high-carbon pathway, imperiling their economies future and the global climate,” the authors warned in the report. Funding for gas comes from an array of multilateral development banks and a constellation of bilateral financing at the government level from G20 nations, such as export credit agencies and development banks. According to the study and to data from Oil Change International, natural gas projects in the Global South received an average of $16 billion in international public financing between 2017 and 2019, four times higher than solar and wind. Of that total, 48% came from just three countries: Japan, China and the United States. Most of that financing (46%) is funneled into power generation, a sector where there are cheap alternatives in solar, wind and energy storage.