For Immediate Release

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At the One Planet Summit, the World Bank Steals The Show by Phasing Out Upstream Oil and Gas Finance

WASHINGTON - At the One Planet Summit in Paris, France, the World Bank announced, among other positive steps, that they “will no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019.”

In response to the announcement, Oil Change International released the following statements:

Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of Oil Change International, said, “It is hard to overstate the significance of this historic announcement by the World Bank. Environmental, human rights, and development campaigners have been amplifying the voices of frontline communities for decades in calling for an end to World Bank financing of upstream oil and gas projects. Today the World Bank has raised the bar for climate leadership by recognizing the simple yet inconvenient truth that achieving the Paris Agreement’s climate goals requires an end to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry. We congratulate the World Bank, and we look forward to working with them and other partners towards a managed decline of fossil fuel production, and a just, equitable transition to a global clean energy economy. It is time for all of the institutions, countries, investors and individuals who are still in the Paris Agreement to stop funding fossils – once and for all.”

Alex Doukas, Stop Funding Fossils Program Director at Oil Change International, said, “This commitment from the World Bank demonstrates true climate leadership. This sends a clear signal to the world that the fossil fuel era is ending, and that government money can no longer be used to prop up oil, gas, and coal production. Given what we know about the climate crisis, ending fossil fuel finance is simply the rational and moral thing to do. Other finance institutions must now follow the World Bank’s lead and move to stop funding fossils. It is important to note that midstream and downstream oil and gas finance are also major contributors to climate change, and must be addressed to remain within the climate limits established by the Paris Agreement.”

Notes:

  • Despite their climate commitments, many governments and institutions in attendance continue to finance fossil fuels. Public finance institutions controlled by G20 governments, along with multilateral development banks, provided $71.8 billion per year on average in public finance for fossil fuels, and only $18.7 billion on average for clean energy between 2013-2015.
  • The World Bank Group already has a policy in place that restricts support for coal-fired power plants and for thermal coal mining. With the addition of upstream oil and gas to thermal coal mining, this commitment means that the World Bank will no longer finance fossil fuel extraction after 2019, except in extreme cases.
  • According to Oil Change International’s Shift the Subsidies Database, the World Bank Group provided an average of over $1 billion per year in upstream oil and gas finance (for the three years from FY2014 through FY2016).
  • Just prior to the One Planet Summit, over 200 civil society groups demanded a commitment to phase out subsidies and public finance for fossil fuels as soon as possible and no later than 2020, except in extreme cases where there is clearly no other viable option for increasing energy access to the poor.
  • A briefing titled “Dirty Dozen,” released by the Big Shift Global campaign the day before the summit, highlights some examples of the types of destructive fossil fuel projects that public finance continues to prop up.
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Oil Change International is a research, communication, and advocacy organization focused on exposing the true costs of fossil fuels and facilitating the coming transition towards clean energy.

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