A small government agency is supporting fossil fuel projects abroad with estimated carbon emissions of a country the size of Portugal, it has emerged.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), a government agency in the Department for International Trade, is spending billions of pounds on the projects, Newsnight researchers have found.

This is despite a government commitment to cut down on carbon emissions.

The Conservative Environment Network (CEN) called the figures “staggering”.

The organisation, which describes itself as a forum for conservatives who support conservation and decarbonisation, said funding the projects was “a blemish on the UK government’s record on climate change”.

An investigation by Newsnight, in conjunction with Unearthed – Greenpeace’s investigations unit – found that UKEF has helped to finance oil and gas projects that, when complete, will emit 69 million tonnes of carbon a year, according to government estimates.

That’s nearly a sixth of the total annual carbon emissions of the UK.

The government calculated the UK’s total emissions to be 449 million tonnes of C02e (carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2018.

Read more: BBC