The United States will produce a plan to end international financing for fossil fuel projects, its special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday, as senior British and U.N. officials urged donor nations to meet a flagship climate finance promise.
Speaking at an online panel organised by the World Economic Forum, Kerry said the new administration of U.S. President Joe Biden would draft a plan for U.S. climate finance, without giving further details.
He noted the United States had spent $265 billion cleaning up three major hurricanes that hit the country in 2017, while another storm in 2020 racked up a bill of $55 billion. Yet “in stark contrast, we don’t fully fund” a commitment by wealthy governments, enshrined in the Paris Agreement, to raise $100 billion a year globally to help poor, vulnerable nations adopt clean energy and adapt to extreme weather and rising seas, he said.
Welcoming the U.S. announcement that it aims to end overseas funding for fossil fuel projects, green group Friends of the Earth noted that in the past five years the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and its predecessor, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, had approved almost $4 billion for such projects. In addition, the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) approved over $5 billion for fossil fuel projects abroad in the last two years, it said.
“It is high time that EXIM, DFC and the rest of the U.S government stop destroying local communities and the environment by propping up fossil fuel projects abroad,” said Kate DeAngelis, the group’s international finance programme manager.
In December, the British government also promised to stop further state support for oil, gas or coal projects overseas, including via development aid, export finance and trade promotion.