Rich nations under fire for funding gas as 'bridge fuel' overseas

(Thomson Reuters, London, 21 April 2021) Donor governments are pulling out of financing new coal plants, but campaigners say they want pledges to cover all fossil fuels, with gas still touted by some as a way to transition to renewable energy. Pressure on wealthy governments to stop financing polluting coal projects in developing nations is getting results, with more countries announcing they will no longer make such investments. But the battle is far from won - and is now shifting to include oil and gas finance, climate change campaigners say. Last week, 57 U.S. green groups wrote to U.S. climate envoy John Kerry urging him to "unequivocally declare that gas is not part of the solution" and to immediately end all fossil fuel support internationally as well as U.S. exports of fossil fuels "as science and justice require". The move came after Kerry told a discussion with the head of the International Monetary Fund this month that "gas, to some degree, will be a bridge fuel", meaning it could smooth the transition from the dirtiest energy sources - coal and oil - to renewables. Kate DeAngelis of Friends of the Earth noted the new plan to phase out fossil fuel finance did not cover the U.S. Export-Import Bank, the largest source of U.S. government financing for fossil fuel projects abroad. Some 20 environmental organisations said the E3F coalition had made no new commitments and that the Netherlands, France and Britain continued to provide support for gas extraction in violence-hit northern Mozambique, saying the investments had forced communities from their homes after losing their fishing areas and farmland.