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european parliament resolves to end public financing of fossil fuels

In November 2007, Friends of the Earth International, FoE Europe, and other groups campaigning to end public funding for extractive industries achieved a key victory as an overwhelming majority of 540 Members of the European Parliament approved an important resolution. Despite some (expected) watering down of an original Green Group draft report for the resolution, crucial aspects still passed the plenary vote – a major success.


european parliament resolves to end public financing of extractives The resolution asks Member States to adopt binding legislation on a moratorium for fossil-fuel project funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Export Credit Agencies (ECAs). The measure is important because half of all new greenhouse-gas-polluting industrial projects in developing countries take some type of support from ECAs.  The EIB in particular is a very large financier of fossil fuel projects, providing 58 percent of public financing for fossil fuels worldwide – when it should instead be funding a transition to clean, sustainable energy supplies.

Specifically, the resolution called for the “discontinuation of public support, via export credit agencies and public investment banks, for fossil fuel projects.”  It also asks EU governments to propose legislative mechanisms that would force export credit agencies and the EIB to "take account of the climate change implications of the funded projects" and to "impose a moratorium on funding until sufficient data are available." The resolution further recommends a study to amend the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), to allow for the compulsory licensing of environmentally necessary technologies, and calls for the redoubling of efforts to increase renewable energy and energy efficient technology transfer.

A third noteworthy element of success is that the resolution envisages a revision of WTO rules on subsidies and anti-dumping to address the issue of "environmental dumping". 

The resolution was widely welcomed by FoEI and other groups campaigning on ECAs and the EIB as it comes after years of intensive campaigning to phase out funding for fossil fuels. In addition, The resolution gives a strong signal that international trade is not innocent — it has an impact on our climate — and that climate concerns need to be mainstreamed in trade policy.

read the resolution


with thanks to our funders: the dutch ministry of foreign affairs, the c.s. mott foundation and the wallace global fund

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