Phasing out fossil fuel? Europe to discuss ending investments in coal, oil and gas
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will meet today to discuss a new proposal to end funding fossil fuel projects.
If agreed, it would be a significant win in the fight against climate change.
European Green Deal
Incoming European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has outlined a plan to tackle climate change. The EIB is central to the ambitious plan, which would see funding increase for renewable energy while phasing out reliance on fossil fuel.
But the move requires a delicate balancing act, with energy security an equally important priority for European leaders.
Several EU countries still rely heavily on fossil fuels to power their electricity grids, which means any policy change needs to strike the right balance between combating climate change and keeping the lights on across the continent.
And according to the EIB, change needs to occur in a way that keeps the public on side.
"There is a very important aspect of the transition. and we have seen that on all protests, not only young people but also yellow vests," said Nancy Saich, the bank's chief climate change expert.
"If we don’t address people's livelihoods and their jobs are at risk because they are working in coal or they are working in a high emitting industry - if we don’t take that into account and don’t give them opportunities for work and jobs in the future - then we will not be addressing everybody. We have to do this in an inclusive way. And try to leave nobody behind," she told Euronews.
Still, 93% of Europeans think climate change is a serious problem, according to recent Eurobarometer research. The survey also suggests climate change has overtaken international terrorism as the second most serious concern in Europe after poverty, hunger, and lack of drinking water.
With that level of backing, EU Finance Ministers know their calls for the EIB halt funding of oil, gas and coal projects will likely be met favourably by European voters.