UK Continues to Back Fossil Fuels
Jul 25 2019 Read 315 Times
While tackling climate change is a major issue for the United Kingdom, new figures revealed the country spent almost £2 billion on overseas fossil fuel projects last year. This represents an enormous elevenfold increase in funding over the past 12 months, a surge that doesn't reflect the country's commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, promoting a low carbon economy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% on 1990 levels by 2050.
In an article released by investigative journalism and research outlet DeSmog UK, the latest £2 billion figure represents a significant increase on the £432 million spent in 2015, the £857 million spent in 2016 and the £175 million spent in 2017. In comparison, funding for international renewables projects fell to £700,000, with most of the cash directed towards wind turbines in Germany and the Netherlands.
Overseas fossil fuel funding guzzles 25% of UKEF budget
Oman, Kuwait and Brazil were among the countries receiving funding for oil and gas projects from UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government agency responsible for supporting British exports by issuing credit, loans, insurance and guarantees. The Duqm oil refinery project in Oman received £734 million in funding, while Brazilian exploration projects were bolstered by £248 million. Other pledges included £171 million to a Kuwait oil refinery and an additional hundreds of millions for Iraqi power projects. In total, the amount channelled into the international fossil fuels industry represented more than a quarter of the UKEF budget.
UK government accused of offering "unacceptably high" subsidies
The government has come under fire from the environmental audit committee, who accuses the UK of dishonoring its climate credentials by offering "unacceptably high" subsidies to poor, fossil fuel dependent nations. In response, the UKEF asserts overseas support for oil and gas projects plays a key role in maintaining the competitiveness of the British energy industry and protecting the jobs of more than 300,000 people.
Labour MP and member of the environmental audit committee Kerry McCarthy says the UKEF needs to reassess its priorities and start making decisions that reflect the environmental commitments of the country.
"These shocking figures show UKEF is increasingly undermining attempts to tackle our climate emergency. Instead of making renewable energy a priority, as UKEF assured us they were doing when they appeared before our inquiry in March, their own accounts show that support for fossil fuels has increased more than tenfold over the past year. Not only that, support for renewables has declined by a third.”
With climate change on the rise, environmental impact is now front of mind for both governments and energy companies. For a closer look at how the industry is managing its environmental footprint don't miss 'Lubricants and the Environment,' which offers expert commentary from Koehler Instrument Company Director, Dr. Raj Shah.
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