Fossil fuels given £2.5 billion by UK overseas

| 10th June 2019
Oil rig
Wikimedia
The Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) calls on government to end support for new fossil fuel energy projects by 2021.

This is unacceptable. It is time for the government to put its money where its mouth is and end UK Export Finance's support for fossil fuels.

Billions of pounds of British taxpayers' money is supporting fossil fuel energy schemes around the world, undermining the UK's commitment to tackle climate breakdown, MPs said.

UK Export Finance (UKEF), which provides loans, insurance and guarantees for firms operating overseas, gave £2.5 billion to fossil fuel projects between 2013/14 and 2017/18.

The Commons Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) called on the government to end support for new fossil fuel energy projects by 2021.

Billions

The EAC said there was an "unacceptably high" level of support for fossil fuel projects in poorer countries, with £2.4 billion of the funding going to low or middle-income nations, potentially locking them into decades of dependency on oil and gas.

The committee's chairwoman Mary Creagh said: "Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will mean ending our addiction to dirty fossil fuels.

"The Government claims that the UK is a world leader on tackling climate change, but behind the scenes the UK's export finance schemes are handing out billions of pounds of taxpayers money to develop fossil fuel projects in poorer countries. This locks them into dependency on high carbon energy for decades to come.

Mix

"This is unacceptable. It is time for the government to put its money where its mouth is and end UK Export Finance's support for fossil fuels."

A UKEF spokesman said: "The UK Government fully recognises the importance of tackling climate change and the need for a mix of energy sources and technologies as the world transitions to a low carbon economy.

"We welcome the committee's report and are working with colleagues across government to consider our response."

This Author

David Hughes is the Press Association's political editor. 

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