Record citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on the bank to urgently abandon fossil fuels

Brussels, 28 March 2019

Today, as they submit their official contribution to the public consultation on the European Investment Bank (EIB)’s new Energy Lending Policy, citizens, civil society and local authorities call for the world’s largest public lender to end its support for fossil fuels projects.

In the moment of highest public engagement with the fight against climate change globally, civil society and local authorities organizations have gathered around a joint Fossil Free EIB campaign to bring the citizens’ attention on the climate responsibilities of the often-neglected EIB, the bank of the European Union.

Indeed, while publicly committing to align its investments with the Paris Agreement goals by 2020, the EIB is making contradictory choices, by financing the fossil fuel industry, and opting for false solutions, such as supporting fossil gas.

The Fossil Free EIB campaign comes at a time when the EIB itself has invited citizens together with all the interested stakeholders to contribute to a public consultation for the review of its energy lending policy.

Historically this process has been confined to technical discussions in Brussels and Luxembourg with very limited input from ordinary citizens (1) – this time the Fossil Free EIB campaign spurred direct engagement from thousands of citizens from Europe and beyond (2), who decided to take different online and offline actions to flag the urgency to act on climate to the EU bank’s President and staff.

The message to the EIB, the multilateral public bank that lends the most money in the world, is clear: its energy choices will be decisive to contain climate change, and it needs to do its utmost to save our planet from its irreversible impacts.

Concretely, citizens, civil society and local authorities have called on the bank to divest from fossil fuels by shifting its investments towards renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Xavier Sol, Director of Counter Balance, said:

“The responsibility of the EIB in the global fight against climate change is huge: as the bank of the European Union, its energy policy must be ambitious and reflect the EU climate commitments and decarbonisation goals. But the bank won’t make this happen on its own. As the public consultation closes, now it’s time for its shareholders – the EU Member States – to actively push for a bold new energy policy.”

Tim Ratcliffe, Campaigner at 350.org, said:

“There is a renewed sense of urgency for transformational action in the global climate movement – students are leading the way. It is increasingly unlikely that the European Investment Bank will be able to continue to get away with spending billions in public funds on dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure projects, projects that not only create climate chaos but generate social and economic injustice.”

Regine Richter, energy campaigner at urgewald said:

“Apart from the climate urgency, a bank caring for its credit rating should do everything to avoid financing potential stranded assets, which all fossil fuel projects will ultimately become if governments take the fight against climate change seriously.”

Elena Gerebizza, energy campaigner at Re:Common said:

“It’s time for the bank of the European Union to show it serves the needs of people, not of business. We are especially concerned with the bank’s continued support to gas infrastructure projects such as the highly controversial Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which have an unbearable cost for our climate and the affected communities. We need the bank to phase out fossil fuel funding completely.”

Cécile Marchand, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth France said:

“The EIB cannot claim to be the European Climate Bank, while it is still funding fossil fuels. It is time for the bank to implement its commitment to align with the Paris Agreement and stop financing directly as well as indirectly the fossil fuel industry in Europe.”

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

“The EIB’s job is clear. To keep global warming to 1.5°C all sectors of the economy need to undergo structural transformations towards net-zero emissions. The EU’s bank therefore needs to ensure that it is focusing its limited resources on investments that support the clean energy transition, not hinder it. Financing fossil fuel projects must end immediately.”

Anna Roggenbuck, EIB policy officer at Bankwatch said:

The European Investment Bank has yet to align its financing with the Paris Climate Agreement. The figures are telling: between 2013 and 2018, the EIB lent 13.5 billion Euros to fossil fuel projects. At the time when the EU must significantly step up its efforts towards its new climate and energy targets, halting fossils investment is a start. The bank should also take a broader perspective on its energy lending making sure all investments, especially run by fossil fuels dependent companies, are a part of decarbonisation plans.

Sebastien Godinot, economist at WWF European Policy Office, said:

“The European Parliament just voted this week to exclude fossil fuels from the EUR 320 billion European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Cohesion Funds for 2021-2027, signalling a clear commitment to the Paris Agreement and the EU net-zero emissions Long Term Strategy. The EIB needs to reflect this vote in its next energy lending policy and exclude fossil fuels too: this is the only credible option for achieving the Paris Agreement.

 

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

 

Note to editors:

  1. The previous EIB’s Energy Lending Criteria public consultation held in 2013 counted only 4 individual submissions, all of which actually represented the contribution of individual energy experts or consultants: https://www.eib.org/en/about/partners/cso/consultations/item/public-consultation-on-eibs-energy-lending-policy.htm
  2. For example, see the citizens’ signatures collected through a 350.org petition https://act.350.org/sign/demand-fossil-free-eib/

 

Contacts

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

 

>> To consult Counter Balance’s submission to the public consultation click here

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