Government 'funding fossil fuel-burning plants abroad'

(The Guardian, 10 Jun 2019) Environment committee says UK is sabotaging its green credentials with overseas aid.

The government has been taken to task by its own MPs for sending billions of pounds overseas to help build power plants that burn fossil fuels while claiming a climate victory on home soil.

The environmental audit committee said the UK is sabotaging its climate credentials by paying out “unacceptably high” fossil fuel subsidies to developing nations, while claiming to lead world in tackling the climate crisis. It called on ministers to stop by 2021 using taxpayer funds to lock poorer nations into a fossil fuel future.

The rebuke is the clearest cross-party criticism of the UK’s fossil fuel subsidies and comes after mounting international criticism in recent months.

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg said in April the UK’s “active, current support of new exploitation of fossil fuels” was “absurd”. The audit committee report found that UK Export Finance (UKEF), which provides lines of credit and insurance to help companies win business overseas, spent £2.6bn in recent years to support the UK’s global energy exports, of which £2.5bn was handed to fossil fuel projects. Only 4% of its funding, or £104m, was used to support renewable energy projects.

Earlier this year, former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon called on the UK to stop funding fossil fuel projects in the developing world.

He told the committee that UKEF needs “recalibration” to meet international climate trends and obligations.

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The Guardian, 10 Jun 2019: Government 'funding fossil fuel-burning plants abroad'