The United States and Canada among the 20 countries that will stop financing fossil fuels abroad

The United States, Canada and 18 other countries pledged at the COP26 climate summit on Thursday to halt public funding for fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of next year and instead direct their spending towards clean energy.

Activists called the pledge a “historic” step to turn off the financing taps for fossil fuel projects. But it did not include the major Asian countries responsible for most of such overseas financing.

By covering all fossil fuels, including oil and gas, the deal goes beyond a promise made by G20 countries this year to stop foreign funding for coal alone.

The 20 countries that signed the pledge include Denmark, Italy, Finland, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, The Gambia, New Zealand, and the Marshall Islands, plus five development institutions, including the European Investment Bank and the East African Development Bank. .

“We will end new direct public support to the international fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022,” they said in a statement.

A television camera is shown during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, on ​​October 31, 2021 (credit: PHIL NOBLE / REUTERS).

That would cover coal, oil and gas projects that “do not decline,” meaning that they burn fossil fuels without using technology to capture the resulting CO2 emissions.

The agreement allowed exemptions in unspecified “limited” circumstances, which it said must be consistent with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 ° C.

Countries that signed the pledge together invested nearly $ 18 billion on average each year in international fossil fuel projects between 2016 and 2020, according to an analysis by Oil Change International, a nonprofit organization.

But Asian countries were not included. China, Japan and South Korea are the main sponsors of foreign fossil fuel projects in the G20, with most of that support going to oil and gas projects. Those countries have pledged to stop foreign funding for coal, the promise made by all G20 nations.


By bringing together the richest donor countries with the poorest nations that receive international financial support, the COP26 agreement aims to build a consensus among nations to stop supporting polluting projects and instead support clean energy both to curb energy emissions to avoid building stranded assets.

Governments and financial institutions are facing increased pressure to stop financing coal, oil and gas projects responsible for producing the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, both at home and abroad.

Activists pointed out that some signatory countries, such as Canada, were still spending on fossil fuels at home, and urged defunct countries and development banks to join.

“The world has no more space or time to accommodate the expansion of fossil fuel energy,” said Lidy Nacpil of the nonprofit Asian Peoples’ Movement for Debt and Development.

Britain ended direct government support for new fossil fuel projects abroad this year and Denmark said on Wednesday it would do the same, with exemptions for some gas projects that meet “strict conditions” until 2025. The European Bank Investment is also committed to ending oil and gas project financing this year.

The International Energy Agency has said that an end to investments in oil, coal or gas supply projects is necessary for the world to reach net zero global emissions by 2050, which scientists say is crucial to prevent the average global temperature rise more than 1.5 degrees Celsius beyond. Pre-industrial levels. Beyond that threshold, global warming could trigger catastrophic and irreversible impacts.

A huge investment in green technologies is needed for the task. Bernstein analysts estimate the required low-carbon investments at approximately $ 2-4 trillion per year through 2050.

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