Governments worsen climate crisis with USD billions in export finance
New website shines a light on the extent of export credit agencies' support for fossil fuels
Each year governments provide tens of billions of dollars in financial support to fossil fuel projects via export credit agencies (ECAs). Today, 18 civil society groups from 14 countries are launching a new website to shine a spotlight on how ECAs are undermining global climate goals. In advance of the November UN climate conference, the organisations are calling on governments around the world to end public financial support for coal, oil and gas projects, including support from ECAs. Ending this support and redirecting financial resources to sustainable alternatives is essential for a just energy transition.
ECAs are primarily public entities that provide companies with government-backed loans, loan guarantees, credits and insurance, usually to support exports overseas. Despite the International Energy Agency's conclusion that, in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C, there can be no investments in new fossil fuel supply, governments continue to support fossil fuel projects on a massive scale through their ECAs. "This support often flies under the radar," says Niels Hazekamp of the Dutch organization Both ENDS. "The aim of www.fossilfreeecas.org is to shed light on how governments are propping up fossil fuels through their export credit agencies. We are urging governments to end this support."
The website highlights a sample of ECA-supported projects around the world. Among them are two projects in Mozambique, which together have received up to USD 18 billion in ECA support from China, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, the UK and the US. "Ten years ago, this region was seen as the new Dubai. The gas would bring steady jobs and wealth to the farmers. The opposite is true. It has fuelled existing inequalities and violence," says Julio Bichehe of the farmers' union União Provincial dos Camponeses (UPC) of Cabo Delgado.
The website also highlights Santos' proposed Barossa gas project in Australia. "The Barossa project is probably the world's dirtiest gas project," says Dina Hopstad Rui of Jubilee Australia. "It has already received support from South Korea's ECA, KEXIM. Several other ECAs are also considering support. If it moves forward, Barossa will not only accelerate the climate crisis but also put the unique biodiversity in the project's area at risk."
Earlier this month, the UK government and the European Investment Bank urged governments and public financial intuitions to commit to phasing out all fossil fuels and proclaim their support for clean energy. "The science is crystal clear," says Laurie van der Burg of Oil Change International. "If the world is to have any chance of limiting global heating to 1.5°C, export credit agencies need to immediately stop financing new fossil fuel projects, including gas projects. At the upcoming global climate conference, ECAs need to join the UK and the European Investment Bank in committing to end all fossil fuel finance. Only then will we have a livable future."
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News / 22 November 2021
Export support – and especially that to fossil projects – has been in the spotlights quite often recently. This is a positive development, because the Netherlands alone provides fossil export support worth 1.5 billion euros per year. At the climate summit in Glasgow, the United Kingdom launched a statement promising to stop providing export support to fossil projects by the end of 2022. After having denied at first, the Netherlands decided to join the statement after all – which now has already been signed by nearly forty countries and financial institutions.
News / 13 July 2021
The government provides an average of 1.5 billion euros a year in export support for fossil projects by Dutch companies, in the form of insurance and guarantees. The climate crisis requires that the Netherlands and other countries stop providing export support for fossil energy projects, whether it be coal, oil or gas, before the end of this year.
Event / 4 November 2021, 16:45 - 18:00
UNFCCC COP 26 side event ‘Aligning export finance with the Paris Agreement: high time to phase out fossil fuels’
Many countries heavily support fossil fuel investments abroad through their export credit agency (ECA). This contributes to carbon lock- in, whereby companies or even countries commit themselves to a certain amount of greenhouse gas emissions for the lifetime of the infrastructure — oftentimes years or even decades. This seriously delays the transition to renewable energy sources, and is certainly not in line with Art. 2.1c of the Paris Agreement.
Highlighting the impacts caused by export finance in the global South, this side event will provide concrete recommendations to decarbonize export credit agencies.
News / 15 October 2021
The Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB is not aligned with the Paris Climate Agreement; on behalf of the Dutch State, it continues to strongly support investments in fossil fuels. This is the conclusion of a report by German research agency Perspectives Climate Research (PCR), in which the export credit agencies of the Netherlands and Japan are measured in terms of their climate ambitions and alignment with the Paris Agreement.
Publication / 17 November 2019
Almost two-thirds of the export credit insurances that Atradius DSB provided in the 2012-2018 period went to the fossil energy sector. That is contrary to the climate agreements that the Netherlands signed in Paris.
News / 15 April 2021
On Wednesday, April 14, seven countries, including the Netherlands, launched an initiative called Export Finance for Future (E3F), in which they set a number of ambitions with regard to phasing out export support for the fossil sector. Many NGOs worldwide, including Both ENDS in the Netherlands, have been calling for such an initiative in recent years and we are therefore pleased with this step. However, to achieve results and contribute to the Paris climate goals, countries will have to commit to much more ambitious goals than those now set. Concerned civil society organizations, including Both ENDS, therefore prepared a statement detailing the weaknesses they felt in the policy proposed by E3F, supplemented with recommendations for improvements.
Press release / 29 August 2022
Billions of euros a year in support for fossil exports underscores importance of Glasgow Declaration
Amsterdam, 29 August 2022 - A recent study by Both ENDS shows that, in the past decade, the Dutch government has provided on average a billion euros a year in insurance for fossil energy projects. At the end of last year, together with 33 other countries, the Netherlands agreed to stop providing this support by the end of 2022. Both ENDS calls on the government to formulate a resolute policy that leaves no room for exemptions that contribute to global warming by more than 1.5 degrees.
Publication / 15 March 2023
News / 8 November 2021
Today, the Netherlands announced that it will join a leading group of countries, including the United States, Canada and Italy, which declared that they would stop international support for fossil energy projects. At the day of the launch of the declaration at the climate summit in Glasgow on the 4th of November, the Netherlands had no intention of joining, but because of pressure from civil society and political parties, the responsible ministries decided to sign after all. Both ENDS, together with organizations at home and abroad, has been pushing for this for years, and we are very happy with this step. We will of course continue to monitor developments.
News / 4 May 2021
Today, two independent experts brought out a legal opinion on the obligations of countries and their export credit agencies under international law in relation to export support for fossil fuels. According to the report, emissions by fossil fuels and the related infrastructure need to be reduced urgently.
Press release / 18 November 2019
The Netherlands provides export credit insurances and guarantees worth 1.5 billion euros annually to Dutch companies active in the oil and gas sector abroad. This support amounts to one and a half times the annual amount that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte mobilises for climate initiatives worldwide. The intended effects of Dutch international climate policy are more than offset by this fossil export support. That is the conclusion of a new report from Both ENDS which is published today.
News / 20 February 2023
Today, a letter, undersigned by almost 60 organisations from countries that face the consequences of fossil fuel projects or stand in solidarity, has been sent to the Dutch Members of Parliament. This Thursday, a debate about the export credit facility and the policies around it, will take place in the Dutch Parliament. The coalition calls upon Dutch politicians and policy makers to stand up against any form of export support for fossil fuel projects that are to be executed by Dutch companies abroad, expecially in the global South.
Press release / 3 November 2022
The Netherlands breaks major climate promise to end public financing for international fossil fuel projects
Today, a week before the international climate summit in Egypt, the Dutch Government has broken a major climate promise it made last year to end public financing for international fossil fuel projects. International and Dutch NGOs argue that the new policy published by the Dutch Government on restricting finance for fossil fuels has such significant loopholes, that it essentially means The Netherlands has reneged on its promise.
Publication / 18 June 2017
Press release / 19 May 2021
Amsterdam, 19 May 2021 – On 25 March, a day after violent attacks in northern Mozambique, the Dutch state decided to provide dredging company Van Oord with export credit insurance worth 900 million euros for its activities in the country. The company is conducting dredging operations for a highly controversial gas project that, according to Mozambican interest groups, is playing a prominent role in the escalating violence in the region. Civil society organisations Both ENDS, Milieudefensie and Oil Change International and their Mozambican partners are alarmed about the situation and have called the Dutch government and Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB to account.
News / 12 July 2021
At the beginning of this year, the Dutch government provided Dutch companies with export insurance worth 903 million euros to enable them to participate in a gigantic natural gas project in the north of Mozambique. Together with partners from Mozambique and the Netherlands, Both ENDS has been conducting a dialogue with export credit agency Atradius DSB and the responsible Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs on the possible financial, environmental and social risks of the gas project.
Publication / 29 August 2022
Publication / 11 November 2020
In 2011 one of the world’s largest gas reserves was found in the coastal province of Cabo Delgado, in the north of Mozambique. A total of 35 billion dollars has been invested to extract the gas. Dozens of multinationals and financiers are involved in these rapid developments. It is very difficult for the people living in Cabo Delgado to exert influence on the plans and activities, while they experience the negative consequences. With the arrival of these companies, they are losing their land.