The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, one of the world's largest development banks, recently published a draft of its future energy strategy. A central theme of the strategy is transitioning to less carbon-intensive energy sources, yet the EBRD fails to establish realistic and measurable policies to facilitate that transition. Under the Bank's draft strategy, lending for fossil fuel projects—including dirty coal and fracking—as well as large-scale hydropower, will continue (albeit with some additional restrictions).
The EBRD is seeking public comments between now and September, after which it will redraft the strategy for the board to approve. Now is the time to make ourselves heard. Will you sign on and tell the EBRD it's time to end support for dirty fossil fuels?
The climate is changing before our eyes. Almost every government in the world has agreed that any warming above a 2°C (3.6°F) rise would be unsafe, risking catastrophic feedback cycles and a planet potentially incompatible with human civilization. If we are are to keep climate change below 2°, we must keep 80% of known fossil fuel reserves under ground.
Yet fossil fuel companies continue to develop existing reserves at an alarming rate, while spending billions of dollars each year to find more fossil fuels. If we continue along this trajectory, the world is on track to burn five times as much fossil fuel as is considered "safe" by conservative estimates.
It's time for public financial institutions to end their support for fossil fuel extraction and development. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard recently called on the EBRD, EIB, and the World Bank -- which have a combined annual lending pot of €130 billion -- to end support for fossil fuels in their energy lending policy reviews.
Read more about development banks and fossil fuels here. Our public funds should be invested in a livable future, not an industry bent on ensuring our planets' destruction.