Concerns as EU bank balks at plan to halt fossil fuel investments

(The Guardian, 15 Oct 2019) Last-minute lobbying forces delay to ambitious move by European Investment Bank.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has balked at a proposal to halt new investments in fossil fuels, raising concerns that Germany and other nations are plotting to water down what would be one of the financial sector’s most ambitious climate moves.

The EIB, the largest public bank in the world, announced this year that it would end lending to new gas projects, having already curtailed funding for coal and oil. This would free up more money for renewable energy developments. The details of the plan were expected to be confirmed by a board meeting of EU finance ministers on Tuesday but last-minute lobbying has forced a postponement.

Executives of the bank, which is owned by EU member states, said the plan was still on course and would probably be approved next month.

“The new energy lending policy is a milestone on the EIB’s road to transform itself into the EU Climate Bank. I am pleased about the important progress made today and am confident of securing a final approval in November,” said Andrew McDowell, the EIB vice-president responsible for energy.

But climate campaigners fear the measures will be delayed further and weakened.

“This delay is a direct result of Germany and the European commission pushing to add more fossil fuels back into the policy. This is the opposite of the leadership demanded by millions of climate strikers and activists around the world,” said Alex Doukas of the NGO Oil Change International. “We are in the middle of a climate emergency, so it shouldn’t be hard to say no to more public money for fossil fuels.”

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The Guardian, 15 Oct 2019: Concerns as EU bank balks at plan to halt fossil fuel investments