US Joins 20+ Nations to End International Fossil Fuel Financing

United States joins 20+ countries in committing to end international finance for oil, gas, and coal by end of 2022

Glasgow — Today the United States and 24 other countries and institutions from both developed and developing countries committed to end direct international public finance for unabated coal, oil and gas by the end of 2022 and prioritize clean energy finance. If implemented effectively this initiative could directly shift more than USD 18 billion a year of preferential, government-backed support out of fossil fuels and into clean energy — and much more if initial signatories are successful in convincing their peers to join. 

Between 2018 and 2020, G20 governments and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) spent at least $188 billion on fossil fuels — 2.5 times as much public finance on fossil fuels as on clean energy. This commitment has the potential to stop tens of billions in support from U.S. institutions. Shifting public finance for energy out of all fossil fuels and into clean energy is an urgent task. The International Energy Agency says that to limit global warming to 1.5°C, 2021 needs to mark the end of new investments in not just coal, but also oil and gas supply. 

In the past five years, the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and its predecessor, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, approved almost $4 billion for overseas fossil fuel projects. In addition, EXIM has approved over $5 billion for fossil fuel projects abroad in the last two years. Other agencies, including the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), have provided technical assistance and policy guidance in support of overseas fossil fuel projects. 

Public finance for clean energy has stagnated since 2014, despite the need for it to grow exponentially to ensure universal access to clean energy, and to reach annual public and private investments of nearly $4 trillion by 2030 to meet the 1.5°C goal. 

In response, civil society advocates released the following statements: 

Kate DeAngelis, International Finance Program Manager, Friends of the Earth U.S.:

“A year ago I could not have imagined the United States committing to ending billions of dollars in support for international fossil fuel projects. This is a massive move, but the U.S. must hold firm and shut off the spigot toward fossil fuel companies like Pemex and ExxonMobil. For the sake of local communities and the climate, we cannot permit any exceptions that will water down this commitment and allow for the continued subsidization of the fossil fuel industry.” 

Collin Rees, U.S. Program Manager at Oil Change International: 

“The United States and other signatories are finally doing what’s logical in a climate emergency and recognizing the need to stop pouring fuel on the fire. Shifting dirty oil and gas finance to truly clean energy is the only way to avoid the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We need much more of this real climate leadership from President Biden — both at home and abroad — to meet and exceed finance promises and support communities in the U.S. and the Global South. I look forward to Biden’s team engaging with other institutions to join this initiative and end international support for fossil fuels once and for all.” 

Lidy Nacpil, Asian’s Peoples Movement for Debt and Development:

“We have been calling for an end to public financing of fossil fuels for so long, governments including the US should have responded earlier. The world has no more space or time left to accommodate the expansion of fossil fuel energy. Instead governments must act immediately and decisively for a swift and just transition to 100% renewable and democratic energy systems. There should be no exceptions, no reliance on unproven and unreliable carbon capture and storage technologies that hide the lack of ambition and justify some level of continued GHG emissions. Governments must also compel the private sector to stop funding new fossil fuel projects. We call on all countries, public financial institutions, and private financiers to commit and disclose concrete plans to end all support and financing, direct and indirect, for all fossil fuels — coal, gas and oil. Anything less will not be enough to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C.”

Contact: Kate DeAngelis, [email protected], +1-202-222-0747

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