Lawyers welcome EIB’s landmark lending policy, warn new gas projects “risk legal challenge”

Media reaction

15 November 2019

The world’s largest multilateral development bank, the European Investment Bank (EIB), has announced it will no longer finance fossil fuel projects – with a cut-off date of 2021.

The news comes after ClientEarth lawyers wrote to the Bank’s Board, and German ministers, warning them that continued lending to gas would breach EU legal duties. Campaigners had been actively pushing for a fossil-free lending policy for months.

ClientEarth lawyer Peter Barnett said: “The EIB has set the standard for banks worldwide with this move – and clearly signalled that oil, gas and coal lending is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement goals. This is a major step in the flight of capital from fossil fuels.

“While we are disappointed to have seen such strong initial pushback from countries like Germany, which claims high standards on climate, the passing of this policy shows a change of gear for clean investment.

“The Bank and its Board of Directors remain legally bound to act in support of the Paris Agreement in every investment decision. This means all gas projects considered by the Bank before the 2021 cut-off will face an uphill battle for approval.

“Polluting gas projects, at risk of becoming stranded in the clean energy transition, are not in line with the Paris goals – and if given the green light, will be at clear risk of legal challenge.”

ENDS

About us:

ClientEarth is a charity that uses the power of the law to protect people and the planet. We are international lawyers finding practical solutions for the world’s biggest environmental challenges. We are fighting climate change, protecting oceans and wildlife, making forest governance stronger, greening energy, making business more responsible and pushing for government transparency. From our offices in London, Brussels, Warsaw, Berlin, Madrid and Beijing, we work on laws throughout their lifetime, from the earliest stages to implementation. And when those laws are broken, we go to court to enforce them.

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