Is Europe serious about phasing out fossil fuels? While confirming its plans to align with the Paris Agreement, the European Investment Bank (EIB) continues to fund climate-damaging fossil fuel projects, having disbursed more than €11.8 billion in fossil fuel projects since 2013, Friends of the Earth Europe, Counter Balance and CEE Bankwatch Network said in a briefing released on Tuesday (11 December).

COP24 Kiara Worth

In an action organized by ACT Alliance and Christian Aid, participants call for COP 24 to produce an ambitious, robust, balanced, and comprehensive rulebook (Photo by IISD/ENB – Kiara Worth)

Multilateral Development Banks including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the EIB, announced a “six block approach” to align their operations with the Paris objectives. But the NGOs say this contains no concrete commitment about the complete phase-out of their fossil fuel investments.

“I cannot promise you that at a special day in the future we will have stopped financing fossil fuels. It would not be honest. The member states that own us will say they do not follow that way,” the NGOs quoted EIB’s President Werner Hoyer as saying in front of the European Parliament’s plenary when asked early 2018 when the EIB would stop supporting fossil fuels.

“Heavily lagging behind, the EIB – bank of the European Union and the world’s biggest multilateral lender – is expected to raise the bar to translate the EU’s climate commitments into action as it updates its energy policy next year. The EIB’s next energy strategy, defining the type of energy projects to be supported by the bank, will be decisive for EU citizens, European public finance and the climate worldwide,” the NGOs said in a statement.