Daily Management Review

Britain Should Stop Funding Fossil Fuels Projects Overseas, Says Ban Ki-moon


Britain Should Stop Funding Fossil Fuels Projects Overseas, Says Ban Ki-moon
Former UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has said that the manner in which the United Kingdom is funding projects depending on fossil fuel overseas, it would put to test the commitment of the country to combat climate change and hence the country should stop such funding.
Ban Ki-moon said that a recent report by the UK’s export credit agency showed that the country had, in recent years, made available billions of pounds for overseas projects which are based on or engaged with oil and gas schemes and that he was deeply concerned about the development.
“These figures and policies are hard to reconcile with the UK’s commitments under the Paris agreement,” said Ban, referring to the international climate deal he forged in 2015 as UN chief. “The time has come for the UK to change course, in the interests of the whole world,” he wrote in a comment piece for the newspaper The Guardian.
The funding that is being made by Britain is in opposition to the warning that was made earlier by the Bank of England governor Mark Carney, who had claimed that there would be a financial crisis because of climate change, he said.
While claiming that he does not comment on the policies of individual countries to climate change, Ban clearly stated that the UK could continue to take a leadership role in climate change issues.
“The UK now faces a crucial opportunity to live up to the prime minister’s words [on climate action] and prove it is serious about phasing out the use of fossil fuels worldwide, and not only on its own territory,” he said.
The most recent comments made by the former South Korean diplomat over the actions and decisions of the UK Export Finance (UKEF) are first of its kind made by him regarding any credit export agency of any country. The UKEF is an agency provides lines of credit and insurance to aid UK companies to secure business contracts overseas.  “There is now a growing consensus that fossil fuels should not be funded in any way by export finance organisations,” he said.
The World Bank’s policy on oil and gas financing and the Swedish equivalent of UKEF’s decision to stop funding fossil fuel companies was cited by Ban. He is also a part of a group of former world leaders known as the Elders.
“Mr Ban is right that UKEF’s support for fossil fuel projects overseas is incompatible with the UK’s leading role in the fight against climate change,” said Mary Creagh, chair of a committee of MPs investigating the scale and impact of UKEF funding for oil and gas schemes.
Between 2014 and 2016, £551m of support to fossil fuel production was allegedly given by UKEF, said the Environmental Audit Committee. And despite a pledge by the UK’s coalition government to stop funding such “dirty” projects, more than 99 per cent of the funds given by the UKEF between 2010 and 2014 was awarded to projects making energy from fossil fuels.