September 30, 2013. Brussels
As the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development today closes the public consultation period on its upcoming energy strategy, a coalition of the largest ten European environmental organisations, the Green 10, is calling on the bank to phase out fossil fuels from its future lending, beginning with coal, and to rule out lending to risky energy sources, such as nuclear and shale gas.
A draft energy policy presented by the EBRD this summer indicates that the bank plans to continue investing in fossil fuels, including coal. Furthermore, the bank is not considering restricting its current lending to the nuclear sector. The EBRD is now also opening the door for the financing of shale gas.
The review of the EBRD’s energy strategy comes at a time when the negative effects of over-reliance on fossil fuels for the climate, the environment and human health have been broadly recognised. As a result, international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank have recently introduced significant limitations to their coal lending, and EBRD shareholders like the US and the Nordic countries have said they would halt financing of coal abroad.
In this context, Green 10 asks of the EBRD not to buck the trend but instead to act responsibly and contribute to this global wave of progressive action towards decarbonisation by introducing strict Emission Performance Standards for energy related investments and a shadow carbon price.
Mark Fodor, CEE Bankwatch Network: „The EBRD claim that that their new energy policy supports sustainability, but how can they seriously say that when the document leaves the door open for coal? The EBRD know what needs to be done – it’s about time they had the courage to do it.”
Louise Duprez, EEB: "The fossil fuel industry is responsible for thousands of premature deaths, tens of thousands of hospital admissions and millions of lost working days in Europe every year. The EBRD stopping its funding for this industry would be a much-needed step towards breaking our addiction to coal - essential to allow Europeans to breathe fresh air and have a healthy environment."
Wendel Trio, CAN Europe: "The EBRD should support global efforts to reduce carbon pollution and needs to put a ban on coal funding. The EIB and the World Bank have joined efforts to protect the climate and are phasing out funding to coal projects. The EBRD should join them, so that other public lenders also follow their example. The world urgently needs this kind of leadership.”
Jorgo Riss, Greenpeace: “As proposed in the draft energy policy, the EBRD is set to continue its old approach of funding the nuclear sector, including extending the life time of existing reactors, as happened recently in the case of nuclear reactors in Ukraine. In the interests of the environment and human health, the EBRD needs to stop financing nuclear energy.”
Magda Stoczkiewicz, Friends of the Earth Europe: "The EBRD must urgently move away from financing fossil fuels, and must not open up financing for new unconventional fossil fuels like shale gas. The bank has indicated it would be open to financing shale gas but these operations pose serious threats to the climate, our environment, our health and local communities. Instead of financing risky and costly fracking, scarce public resources would be better spent developing safe, clean renewables and energy savings which are in dire need of support across the EBRD's region of operations."
Tony Long, WWF European Policy Office: “It is time for the EBRD to finally say goodbye to old-fashioned coal and say “no more” - once and for all. The EBRD must join the growing movement in international development finance led by the World Bank and the European Investment Bank in ending funding for coal projects given their disastrous impacts on climate and health. Clearly the way forward is with renewable energy sources. Coal investments are merely locking future generations into the clean-up costs from a particularly nasty, toxic energy source.”