At the COP26 ‘energy day’, the UK, US and 18 other countries announced an end to public financing for overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022. This announcement is welcome – especially as it covers oil and gas in addition to coal – but there are still loopholes and caveats, and many rich polluting countries like Japan and South Korea are missing.

The countries making the announcement today must stop expanding fossil fuel extraction at home which is still permitted under this agreement . The US and COP26 host, the UK are classic examples of this. As two of the biggest historical polluters they must, along with everyone else, urgently commit to ending fossil fuels in their own countries.

Ending support for fossil fuel projects in the global South is critical, as there is no place for this dirty and harmful energy anywhere in the world. However, the rich countries making this announcement today are also lagging behind on providing crucial climate finance for the just energy transformation in the global South. We demand renewable energy systems that are socially-owned and community-based, and do not drive the privatisation of the electricity sector. The transformation to renewable energy must be accompanied by key principles such as energy sufficiency, energy sovereignty, and energy as a common good not a commodity. Our energy system should protect biodiversity, strengthen communities’ land rights, promote gender justice, and cannot lead to increased extractivism.

For developing countries signing this pledge, it is also welcome news. There is no room for  fossil fuel based, export-oriented development pathways anywhere in the world. Recognising that the global South did not create the climate crisis, and needs resources for their peoples to live dignified lives, we demand that global South leaders represent their peoples, not the polluters.

Another concern is that rich countries and polluting corporations are pushing escape hatches like net zero, carbon markets and geoengineering, and this must stop. 

In addition, we demand that the UK government cease funding damaging gas extraction in Mozambique immediately. Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland is taking the UK government to Court over their decision to fund the Mozambique gas project, which is damaging lives and livelihoods as well as wrecking the climate. The hearing starts on 7 December 2021.