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The European Investment Bank (EIB) in what some called a “game-changer” announced at the end of last week that it will phase out funding for fossil fuel projects by the end of 2021, dealing a major blow to oil and gas companies. Instead, according to The Wall Street Journal, the bank will “use €1 trillion ($1.1 trillion) for climate-change action and environmentally sustainable investment by 2030 and help the EU reach 32% renewable energy across the bloc by 2030.”
At the same time, the Bank announced it will invest €1.5 billion to support renewable energy and energy efficiency projects around the world, “including 15 solar plants in Spain, new wind farms in Austria and Lebanon, and projects in France, Kazakhstan, the South Caucasus region, Latin America and Africa.”
“We will stop financing fossil fuels and we will launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere,” said EIB President Werner Hoyer in prepared remarks.
According to The Guardian, environmental groups were pleased even though the EIB’s announcement comes a year later than hoped by climate campaigners. Experts expect the decision to be especially difficult for the natural gas industry because they had more than $200bn in liquefied natural gas projects planned over the next five years. Other fossil fuel companies will also feel the loss — it is estimated that the EIB loaned €6.2m every day to fossil fuel companies between 2013 and 2018.
As one campaigner put it, “When the world’s biggest public lender decides to largely ditch fossil fuels, financial markets across the globe will take notice: this is the beginning of the end of climate-wrecking fossil fuel finance.”
Top Stories of 2019: This past February the announcement of the Green New Deal resolution sent reverberations throughout Capitol Hill as well as the nation. Suddenly, climate change became a major component of our political discourse.
Last week, as the UN Climate Meeting lurched and sputtered, the European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen of Germany, proposed the European “Green Deal” — a blueprint for how Europe will cut their carbon emissions in half by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, aiming to be a first-mover on creating climate-friendly industries and building clean technologies.
Why This Matters: Countries that seize the moment to transition to a fossil-fuel-free economy will win this century, and those that do not will be left behind.
Yesterday Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that they plan to introduce the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, legislation that would give a green overhaul to the entirety of the nation’s 1.2 million public housing units.