'Carbon Rising’, a study launched today by CEE Bankwatch Network [1] shows that fossil fuel projects account for 38% of the European Investment Bank’s energy lending in countries outside of the EU while only 19% goes to renewable energy projects [2]. "The EIB clearly fails to meet its own priorities of supporting efficient and sustainable energy sources in developing countries", says Piotr Trzaskowski, energy coordinator of CEE Bankwatch Network.

Overall energy figures of the bank are worrying. Although we applaud that the EIB sensitively increased its lending for renewables since 2009 [3], fossil fuel lending also kept rising and almost doubled from €2.8 billion in 2007 to €5 billion in 2010. With 33% fossil fuels keep taking up the largest share of EIB’s energy loans.

Outside of the EU the EIB performs even worse. Besides loans for fossil fuels, 10% of EIB energy lending went to large hydropower projects [4]. “If you add those up, nearly 50% of EIB energy loans outside of the EU go to harmful projects. This is disastrous for a Bank claiming to deliver sustainable development”, says Anna Roggenbuck, EIB coordinator for Bankwatch and Counter Balance.

EIB evening

According to the report, the least developed countries – often the biggest victims of and the least responsible for climate change – hardly get any loans [5]. Countries of the African, Asian and Pacific region (ACP) in general only received a mere €158 million to invest in renewable energy over the last 4 years. These figures stand in sharp contrast to the Bank’s commitments to promote renewable energy in ACP countries.

Moreover, of the projects under the climate action framework [6] outside of the EU almost 60% went to China, Russia and Turkey in 2010. Three G20 countries which even without EIB intervention have easy access to capital.

The EIB is the European Union’s house bank, committed to furthering the EU’s goals, including reducing CO2 emissions by 20 percent by 2020 and by 80-95 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. “Considering the huge challenges ahead much more should be expected from a policy driven bank of the calibre of the EIB. It is high time for the bank to raise its benchmarks and revise its energy policy”, says Roggenbuck.

Trzaskowski adds: “While the EU appears to be the world’s most progressive actor in the global struggle against climate change, the financial arm of the union is putting billions of euros of public money into energy infrastructure that will lock in countries into a fossil-fuel dependent path for four-five decades. Considering what we are hearing from Durban this week, if even the EU acts this way, we are tragically on a sure road to disaster.”

[1a] You can download the full report here: http://bankwatch.org/publicati...
[1b] ‘Carbon Rising’ gives an overview of the energy lending of the EIB between 2007 and 2010. Over that period the EIB spend €49 billion on energy loans. With 33% or €16 billion fossil fuels represents the biggest slice of the pie. Renewables come second with 27% or €13.4 billion. €7 billion was spent outside of the EU with €1.3 billion going to renewables
[2] Bankwatch methodology (categorisation of projects) differs from the EIB one. Please consult Bankwatch methodology on page 29 of the study.
[3] In 2010 the EIB spent for the first time in history more on renewables than on fossil fuels
[4] The World Commission on Dams of the United Nations considers large hydropower projects such as large dams potentially harmful for the environment and local communities. The WCD advises to look for small scale alternatives.
[5] Vanuatu is the only LDC in 4 years that got a mere €4.3 million loan
[6] Besides renewables, climate action also include loans for sustainable transport.

2011 Carbon Rising title page

Carbon rising: EIB's energy lending from 2007-2010

download the report