U.S., U.K. lead pledge to end overseas oil and gas financing, but with big caveats

(Politico, Glasgow, 4 November 2021) The United States, the U.K. and some 20 other countries and financial institutions pledged on Thursday to stop public financing for most overseas oil and gas projects by next year, though the agreement included wide latitude for participants to set their own exemptions and many of the world's leading backers of those projects declined to sign on. The pledge is limited to ending financing of "unabated" oil and gas projects, and would allow those that include carbon capture and sequestration technology. A senior Biden administration official told POLITICO the measure includes exemptions, and that the Biden administration had not settled on how it would instruct its finance aid organizations like the U.S. Export-Import Bank. How tight any carve-outs are for oil and gas is potentially significant for Ex-Im, which approved $5 billion in fossil fuel finance the last two years, environmental group Friends of the Earth said in a statement. "While this is welcome progress, countries, especially the U.S., must hold firm to these commitments, shutting off the spigot to fossil fuel companies like [Mexico's] Pemex and Exxon," said Kate DeAngelis, manager of Friends of the Earth's international finance program. She also called out "laggards like Japan and Korea" to join the new pledge.