Stop funding fossils at the 'One Planet Summit' in Paris
Yesterday, the French President Macron, the President of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, met with international leaders and committed citizens from around the world in Paris. According to the organisers, the aim of this gathering was to 'address the ecological emergency for our planet' as 'two years to the day after the historic Paris Agreement, it is time for concrete action.'
These are hopeful and inspiring words, but what do they really mean if on the other hand we keep providing enormous amounts of financial support to the fossil fuel sector? Despite the climate agreements that were made two years ago in Paris, and despite the fixed goals that were set internationally, financial and economic factors still seem to outweigh social, environmental and climatic factors on every level.
Push for renewables
Phasing out public support for the fossil fuel sector might be one of the strongest incentives to push renewable energy and to reach the Paris climate goal of keeping temperature rises under 1,5 degrees Celcius. Both ENDS is one of almost 200 groups and organisations which have signed an open letter, calling upon the leaders of the multilateral development banks and G20 nations that gather in Paris to stop funding fossils fuels. Also, a publication was launched showing 12 examples of fossil projects supported by these financial institutions, and the impact they have: 'Dirty dozen: how public finance drives the climate crisis through oil, gas and coal expansion.'
A step in the right direction
Although a lot of work remains to be done, some very significant steps were made at the Summit. The largest breakthrough came from the World Bank Group, which announced that it would stop financing oil, gas exploration and extraction projects from 2019. French giant insurer and the third biggest insurer in the world AXA, will divest €2,4 billion from coal and €700 million from tar sands because of climate and human rights impacts. And last but not least, the EIB decided to postpone the loan of €1.5 billion it had planned to provide to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). We are very pleased to see that these large financial institutions seem to finally take serious climate measures and start to move in the right direction. We urge other financial institutions such as the Dutch FMO and Atradius DSB to follow these good examples!
See also Both ENDS' background information about 'Paris Proof Export Support' and the CAN/ODI publication 'Phase-out 2020: Monitoring Europe’s fossil fuel subsidies'