EU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership, as it discusses new energy policy

Brussels, 4 February 2019

Civil society calls on European Investment Bank (EIB)’s President Werner Hoyer to take a bold stance in the fight against climate change and lead the bank out of fossil fuels by shifting its investments towards renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The  “Fossil Free EIB” campaign has been launched today alongside a citizens’ petition, while the EIB holds in Luxembourg its annual seminar between civil society and its Board of Directors.

The campaign is a joint initiative by a group of NGOs including Counter Balance, Oil Change International, Friends of the Earth Europe and Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, that demand the bank do its utmost to change the energy system that brought our planet to the current climate emergency.

This ask comes at a time when the EU bank has a concrete opportunity to take a step forward in its climate commitments: it is now reviewing its Energy Lending Policy and has opened a public consultation, which citizens together with all the interested stakeholders are invited to contribute to.

The action puts the often-neglected EIB under the spotlight as the multilateral public bank that lends the most money in the whole world – even more than the World Bank – and whose energy choices will therefore be decisive in the global fight against climate change.

Civil society organizations argue that while the bank has publicly committed to align its investments with the Paris Agreement goals by 2020, it is still paddling in the opposite direction, by financing the fossil industry, and pointing to false solutions, such as supporting fossil gas as a transition fuel.

Xavier Sol, Director of Counter Balance, said:

“The EIB is the bank of the European Union, thus its energy policy must reflect the EU climate commitments and decarbonisation goals. While the decision in 2013 to stop direct loans to coal was a step forward, after the Paris Agreement the bank needs to go much further and abandon fossil fuels completely. The citizens of the EU and beyond expect it, and demand it now.”

Alex Doukas, Program Director of Oil Change International, said:

“The climate is already in crisis, and we can’t afford another cent of public money flowing to fossil fuels. The EIB has a chance to demonstrate decisive leadership to the wider financial community by ruling out financing of oil, gas, and coal. They’ve already taken strong steps on ending their financing of coal, but they need to go further than the World Bank’s recent commitment to end financing of oil and gas extraction if they want to be true leaders in this space.”

Frida Kieninger, Campaign Officer at Food & Water Europe, said:

“In times of a more and more manifest climate crisis, as recent catastrophic weather events and the latest IPCC report showed, the EIB must show responsibility and move away from all direct and indirect fossil fuel support. This particularly counts for gas, that the EIB supported with several billion € during the past years. With just 10-20 years left to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, there is no space for more gas projects.”

Markus Trilling, Finance and Subsidies Policy Coordinator at Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe said:

“The European Commission proposed a long-term strategy for the EU, aiming to hit climate-neutrality by 2050. For this to happen investments are needed and the EIB has to deliver. Most of all, it must end its support to all fossil fuels. This will benefit both the climate and the economy, with reduced costs of climate change and huge benefits in terms of innovation, modernisation and creation of high-quality jobs.”

Pieter Jansen, from Both ENDS, said:

“Decades of self-proclaimed “sustainable development” by public finance institutions like the EIB have failed to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. The bankers are repeating the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different result from it. This is insane.  Political leaders have to act right now on climate change. Huge changes in society are needed, including a radical reduction of our CO2 emissions.”

 

To sign the petition, click here.

To learn more on the Fossil Free EIB campaign, click here.

 

Contacts

Xavier Sol
Director, Counter Balance
xavier.sol@counter-balance.org
+ 32(0)2 893 08 61

Alex Doukas
Program Director, Oil Change International
alex@priceofoil.org
+1 202 817 0357

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