Stop financing fossil fuels abroad: why France is not one of the signatories

A “Historic announcement”, a “Not major”, the “New bar of ambition”. Many observers were full of praise, Thursday, November 4, after the commitment made by twenty countries and five development banks, at COP26 in Glasgow, to end foreign funding for fossil energy projects by the end of 2022 and to prioritize support “To the transition to clean energy”. This is the first time that an international declaration has attacked support for oil and gas, in addition to coal, the most polluting of energies, even if exceptions are foreseen. Among the signatories are major investors, such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as the French Development Agency… but not France.

Read also COP26, day 4: several commitments on fossil fuels, the main causes of global warming

However, President Emmanuel Macron had been very clear at the United Nations podium in 2019, calling on the “Great countries of the world” to stop ” finance new polluting installations in developing countries ”. “It’s inconsistent, it’s irresponsible”, he protested.

Since then, France has launched in April 2021 a coalition of seven countries (Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Sweden), Export Finance for Future, who commit to “Accelerate the gradual exit” financing of fossil energy projects, but without setting a date. So that Paris remains on its objectives adopted in October 2020 in its climate plan for export financing : stop support for oil in 2025, and support for gas no later than 2035 – coal and unconventional hydrocarbons such as shale or tar sands are no longer supported.

“The French state shines by its absence”

“It’s far too late for the climate emergency. This does not respond to calls from science and the International Energy Agency [AIE] », regrets Anna-Léna Rebaud, climate campaign manager at Friends of the Earth. In May, the IEA called for an immediate end to all investment in new oil or gas facilities in order to hope to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. “The French state is conspicuous by its absence, adds Armelle Le Comte, head of climate advocacy at Oxfam France. Emmanuel Macron therefore sticks to speeches, when other countries take their responsibilities and take action. “

“France was not in a position to end all subsidies from 2022. But the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, announced a review clause for next year, so we risk moving on the dates of 2025 and 2035 “, indicates a diplomatic source.

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Stop financing fossil fuels abroad: why France is not one of the signatories