In the three years after countries signed the landmark Paris Agreement, the UK nearly doubled its public finance support for fossil fuel projects.
A new report shows the UK spent an average of £1.3 billion annually on the projects since countires agreed the climate deal. In contrast, in the same period to the end of 2018, it spent just £148 million a year on supporting clean energy.
Export credit agencies and development finance institutions throughout the wider G20 group similarly provided more than three times the support to fossil fuels than they did to clean energies, the report claims, raising questions around the likelihood that new COVID-19 stimulus packages will deliver sustainable recoveries.
“We need to be on high alert to new investments in fossil fuels from public finance institutions,” Bronwen Tucker, research analyst at Oil Change International and co-author of the report written with Friends of the Earth U.S, told DeSmog.
“We’re in a period where public finance is going to take on a much stronger role and if there’s not a clear mandate for just recovery then we’d expect institutions to stay in the same patterns as usual – where finance is heavily misaligned with a liveable future,” she said.
The G20 group is responsible for about 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, which countries need to reduce urgently in order to limit warming to an agreed target of 1.5°C.
Yet fossil fuel projects in the 2016-2018 period received over half of the total public finance for energy projects from these countries and the major multilateral development banks they control, worth around $65 billion a year, according to the report.
Despite the Paris Agreement’s pledge to reduce emissions, the report also notes that the total portion of this flow of public finances to oil, gas and coal has remained relatively steady compared to the equivalent figures for 2013 to 2015.