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  • BBC News

EU should drop oil, gas and coal funding, say ministers

The European Union should halt funding of oil, gas and coal projects, EU finance ministers said, potentially cutting €2bn (£1.7bn) of yearly investments.

The finance ministers called upon the European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU's financing department, to cut its funding.

Previously, they had only called for coal projects to be dropped.

Since 2013, the EIB has funded €13.4bn of fossil fuel projects.

Last year it funded about €2bn worth of projects.

Some gas projects may be excused after Hungary suggested that Croatia and Ukraine might otherwise rely on Russia, Reuters reports, citing confidential documents.

Gas projects are relatively common among EU member states as they are seen as a cleaner alternative to coal and oil, and more reliable than renewable sources during winter.

Board decision

The joint statement from ministers requested that the EIB and other international financing organisations like the World Bank should "phase out financing of fossil fuel projects, in particular those using solid fossil fuels, taking into account the sustainable development, and energy needs, including energy security, of partner countries".

Protests against fossil fuels have intensified in recent years, and activists who are members of the Extinction Rebellion group are demanding governments declare a climate emergency and want the UK to commit to reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2025.

Internationally, Extinction Rebellion estimates an additional 400 of its activists have been arrested since 31 October 2018, including about 70 in New York City.

The finance minsters' request will need to be agreed by the EIB board, which meets on 14 November.

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