September 26, 2023

Thousands demand European development bank stops financing fossil fuels

September 26, 2023 

Over 6200 emails have been sent to the European Bank for Reconstruction Development (EBRD) calling for its next energy policy to end financing for fossil fuels and step up investments in the energy transition.

Between 2018 and 2021, the EBRD has lent EUR 2.9 billion to various oil and fossil gas projects around the globe, making it the fossil fuel industry’s third most generous multilateral financier. [1]

The Bank is currently in the process of updating its Energy Sector Strategy which would guide its energy investments until 2028. The current policy, adopted in December 2018, excluded support for thermal coal and upstream oil exploration and production, and last year the EBRD decided to stop financing all oil and upstream gas projects, apart from exceptional cases. The new draft strategy [2] suggests that the EBRD could continue lending to midstream and downstream fossil gas projects such as pipelines and power plants.

In fact, in parallel to the strategy update process and despite claiming its operations are aligned with the Paris Agreement, the Bank is nowadays considering financial support to multiple fossil fuels projects, including a controversial fossil gas pipeline between Greece and North Macedonia. If materialised, this massive project could be responsible for up to half of North Macedonia’s carbon budget by 2030. [3]

More than 6200 emails have been sent to the EBRD during the public consultation period for its next Energy Sector Strategy, which ended on Friday, 15 September, thanks to an online tool set up by civil society groups and CEE Bankwatch Network.

In these emails, members of the public urged the Bank to cease all support to the fossil fuels industry and instead double down on financing for a just energy transition in its countries of operation.

These calls come as deadly floods have devastated cities in Libya and India and massive wildfires wreaked havoc in Canada and Greece, hitting first and worst those most vulnerable.

The growing public pressure on the EBRD to finally divest from all fossil fuels also echoes repeated warnings from the scientific community that there is no more room for investments in coal, oil or gas to have a chance at arresting global temperature rise at 1.5 degrees.

Nicolò Wojewoda, Europe regional director with says: “The EBRD’s shareholders, including European countries and major economic powers like the U.S, Canada and Japan, cannot claim to be climate leaders while supporting the use of public funds to finance fossil fuels. Many of these countries bear a historical responsibility in the climate crisis. We’ve seen again its devastating impacts across the world this summer — which was the warmest ever on record. This is a time when world-leading economies should listen to the demands of their citizens to build a better future, and show climate leadership by driving the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.”

Gligor Radečić, gas campaign lead with CEE Bankwatch Network, says: “The EBRD cannot claim it is aligned with the Paris Agreement while it is financing fossil gas projects. Using limited public funds to finance fossil fuels clearly undermines the Paris Agreement goal of keeping the 1.5 degrees Celsius within reach. While it is commendable that the draft policy prioritises decarbonisation of energy systems in the Bank’s countries of operations, it is unacceptable that the EBRD failed to end financing fossil fuels at a time of an accelerating climate emergency.”

Petr Hlobil, Program Director with CEE Bankwtch Network, says: “The EBRD was created to assist the transition of economies of the former communist bloc. So, it is perfectly positioned to speed up the transition of its region’s energy sector. But this requires the EBRD management to think about moving away from the last century’s energy sector based on large fossil fuel sources and focus on smart, more decentralised renewable and energy efficiency solutions. In a true energy transition, investments in fossil gas — which the EBRD is still defending — have no place.”

Notes to editors

[1] How the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Can Shift Millions From Fossil Fuels to Clean Energy Through the Glasgow Commitment, IISD (October 2022)

[2] Draft Energy Sector Strategy 2024-2028, EBRD (July 2023)

[3] The EBRD must not support further fossil gas lock-in for North Macedonia, CEE Bankwatch Network (May 2023)

For further information please contact:

Sophie Guibert, [email protected], +33663211472 – Europe Communications at

Gligor Radečić, [email protected], +385977454467 – Gas Campaign Lead at CEE Bankwatch Network