Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the Inquiry by the UK’s International Development Committee: Climate change, development and COP26. I am responding on behalf of the Bexhill and Hastings Global Justice Now Group.
Terms of reference
The Committee is inviting written evidence on the following issues by 10 May:
We support the UK government’s decision to stop investing internationally in fossil fuels and thus enable the shift to renewable energy.
But there should be no exceptions to the implementation of the policy. The need to cut carbon emissions is too urgent. The policy should ban all investments in gas power as well as coal and oil. The current policy allowing ‘tightly limited’ support for gas-burning power generation projects will simply prolong the use of fossil fuels and thus add to carbon emissions. Analysis by CAFOD suggests that 90% of CDC’s $675 million portfolio of direct fossil fuel investments would still be allowed under this policy, with further support potentially being given indirectly through managed private equity funds.
The policy should come into force as soon as possible and no further projects should be funded before then. Resist the lobbying of the massive industrial polluters to get approval for climate damaging fossil fuel projects before the policy gets implemented.
Investment promises made in the last year should be re-examined urgently in conversation with people on the ground, with the aim of keeping the investment promised, but switched to investment in renewable energy projects in the same location to provide employment and for the benefit of the local population. The equivalent amount of investment should go into clean renewable energy.
There should be no intermediated investments made by the CDC Group, direct investments made by CDC Group in financial institutions, and all ODA or UKEF investments in fossil fuel related infrastructure and associated facilities.
We support investment in green hydrogen, but hydrogen created using fossil fuels is still investing in dirty coal, oil and gas and should be banned.
All institutions involved should plan to divest from their existing investments as early as possible.
Abandon plans to invest in new projects like the new oil pipe line in Uganda which is due to cut through endangered wildlife areas in Uganda and Tanzania, and which the UK government is proposing to finance. To continue with investments in new oil pipe lines is in direct contradiction to the UK government’s commitment to keep to the Paris Agreement. These pipe lines have life spans of 20 years or more. Long before that climate disruption will be rampant unless we change right now to investing only in clean energy.
UK government policy should be bold and ambitious enough to spur on other important actions, encouraging other countries to follow suit and leading to an end to public subsidies for oil/gas production in the UK.
There’s not much point in the CDC Group and the PIDG investing in fossil fuel projects in countries like Bangladesh, either directly, or indirectly through loans to financial institutions, while being fully aware that the continuation of fossil fuel use is powering climate disruption that is already seriously damaging Bangladesh.
● The government cannot argue institutions such as the CDC Group and PIDG are outside their remit since the UK government is CDC’s only shareholder, CDC has its own minister in government, and the UK has provided CDC with approximately £4.3 billion in capital since 2015, while PIDG receive 75% of its funding from the UK government. The government therefore has both the means to force a complete moratorium on fossil fuel finance on CDC Group, and the knowledge that this will have a significant impact in reducing the UK’s support for fossil fuels.
If the government is to have any credibility at COP26 they should implement this policy immediately. The big energy lobbying companies should not be allowed to drown out the voices of the poorer nations. Limit the number of lobbyists, from the fossil fuel companies allowed into COP26. Instead give preference at the table to those countries who are in danger of being flooded or destroyed by drought thus causing many environmental refugees. For the UK to become a global leader in the energy transition the government must stand up to the big international companies and instead co-operate and work with other countries. Make Britain lead again.
Response submitted on behalf of the Bexhill and Hastings Global Justice Now Group.
Christina Lucey, Jack Doherty, John Lynes, John Fowler, Fiona MacGregor, Elspeth Knights, Sonia Hartman, Mary Roslin.