COP27: Belgian commitment to no longer finance fossil projects abroad questioned

This Tuesday in Sharm el-Sheikh, on the sidelines of the COP27, the United Kingdom, initiator of the approach, made an inventory one year after the adoption of the declaration. And the NGO “Oil Change International” has published a report in which certain doubts are expressed in relation to the reality of the Belgian commitment.

In Glasgow, the signatories of the text had committed, politically, to put an end by 2022 to the public financing abroad of fossil energy projects without carbon capture technology, “except in limited circumstances and clearly defined that are compatible with the warming limit of 1.5°C and the objectives of the Paris agreement”.

A year later, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Sweden are credited with a good ballot, but not Belgium.

The fact that our country has put in place a new policy in this area is welcomed, but “the meshes of the net are wide”, estimates the NGO Oil Change International in its report.

Credendo, the Belgian credit insurer, adapted its policy accordingly a few months ago. It has thus committed to ensuring that, both in its investment strategy and in its financing and insurance products for export financing, the objective of net zero emissions by 2050 will be the rule.

But, notes the report, certain exceptions are made, for example for gas and oil fields already in production. As for investments in gas-fired power plants without a CO2 capture and storage system (CCUS), the deadline has been pushed back to 2025.

In addition, things are not clear for other organizations, such as the SFPI, the financial arm of the federal government, or certain investment companies linked to the Regions, according to Yelter Bollen, of the Flemish NGO dome Bond Beter Leefmilieu. The latter also pleads for more transparency, like what is done in the Netherlands. Finally, the promotion, via economic missions abroad, of fossil fuel projects continues in Belgium, whereas this is no longer the case with our northern neighbours.

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