International Grassroots Leaders Call On Treasury Department To Center Their Voices

Treasury To Implement New Guidance on Fossil Fuel Financing at MDBs

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, grassroots leaders from 20 different countries and 37 organizations sent a letter to the U.S. Treasury Department, calling on the Department to center the demands of international grassroots movements in the implementation of its new Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) fossil fuel financing guidance released on Monday. The guidance directs the U.S. government to strongly oppose coal projects, and to only support oil and gas projects in extenuating circumstances and only if specific criteria are met, while encouraging MDBs to invest in clean energy and energy efficiency.

The U.S. currently funnels billions of dollars annually to fossil fuel projects and policies overseas, much of which is done through MDBs. And while U.S. leadership on international fossil fuel financing could have a domino effect on the way that other nations vote on energy projects at the MDBs, it is critical that grassroots voices are at the forefront of the conversation.

The letter sent to Treasury today calls for, among other demands, ending US support for all fossil fuel financing at the MDBs including for gas and helping countries with a just transition to community-centered clean energy. It also calls for  improved disclosure and full transparency of climate finance accounting and decision making and including grassroots communities and movements from developing countries in the full process of drafting these policies. Further demands include actions on specific fossil fuel projects, such as requiring the relevant International Financial Institutions (IFIs) to end the promotion of oil and gas in Guyana; stop the coal project in San Pedro, Côte d’lvoire; and evaluate the impact of their lending and policy advice on fossil fuel development and dependency in Mozambique. 

Grassroots Leaders Quotes

Adorbu Baridakara, Nigeria Coal Network, Nigeria: “Anything that destroys the environment destroys life and we are accusing polluters in Niger Delta Region of Nigeria to be responsible for the high rate of mortality in the region.” 

Lorraine Chiponda, Africa Coal Network: “The global climate crisis requires a just, clean and people driven energy transition and we demand that financial institutions and governments do not slow the progress towards clean by financing and / or underwriting dirty energy projects across the globe.”

Omar Elmawi, deCOALonize Campaign, Kenya: “Climate change impacts largely caused by human activities (especially the burning and consumption of fossil fuels) is costing us dearly. In Africa, cyclones Idai and Kenneth cost more than 1,000 lives, while in Kenya, where I come from, climate change has resulted in droughts, famines, locust invasion, and floods that have cost us lives and livelihood. Continuing investing in fossil fuels is the same as murdering innocent lives of us and our loved ones.”

Melinda Janki, A Fair Deal for Guyana – A Fair Deal for the Planet, Guyana: “Guyana is a carbon sink. That makes us a world leader in the fight to mitigate climate change. We are not going to allow a failing oil major like ExxonMobil to treat the people of Guyana as collateral damage.”

Anabela Lemos, Justiça Ambiental/ Friends of the Earth Mozambique: “The latest IPCC working group 1 report is clear, the planet’s climate has been warming at an unprecedented rate since 1850 and the temperature rise in the last 50 years has been more extreme than in any other 50-year period in the last 2000 years. There is no doubt on the human influence that is causing this warming. The impacts are already affecting Mozambique and many countries in the Global South. Cyclones are super-charged, floods ravaging some places and droughts in others, which are impacting the livelihoods of millions of people, and at the same time increasing poverty and diseases. We need to act now to avoid any temperature increase over 1.5 degrees, and to manage that, the one big solution is to stop all fossil fuels burning and consumption. Now is the time to act and change this suicide path that we are heading on.”

Cheick Ladji Traore, 350 Côte d’ivoire: “​​We need climate action now and must shift power utility from fossil fuel energy to clean and renewable energy for a sustainable living world.” 

Ilan Zugman, 350.org América Latina: “Many Latin American countries are among those that have had proportionally more deaths and greater economic losses because of Covid-19. However, scientists warn that these damages will appear mild when compared to those that the climate crisis may cause, if the planet reaches the worst scenarios of global warming. Latin America’s economic recovery only makes sense if it is accompanied by measures to reduce emissions and build climate resilience in our countries, which is why the US Treasury Department must give clear guidelines for development banks to make comprehensive and urgent commitments to zero their funding for fossil fuel projects. Taxpayer money needs to stimulate job creation in sectors that benefit the most vulnerable people, such as clean energy, food security and public health.”

Communications contact: Kaela Bamberger, Friends of the Earth U.S., [email protected]
Cindy Carr, Sierra Club, [email protected]

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