EIB says ‘no’ to coal! Or….?
For a moment it appeared that the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investments in coal fired power plants. The bank even seemed to have issued a press release on the matter. But, unfortunately, the message was not real. During the annual press conference of the bank the activists, who were the source of the fake press release, stroke again. In the name of ‘the citizens of Europe’, EIB president Werner Hoyer was awarded with the ‘World Coal Down Award’. Hoyer, who was confused for a second, did not accept the award. The EIB fiercely denied the rumors surrounding the investment stop on coal with the term 'pure nonsense'.
Flowers from the chimney
Berber Verpoest of Counter Balance, the coalition behind the action explains: “the EIB always poses itself as a champion in the fight against climate change. But this is puzzling when they, in the same time, refuse to exclude coal from their investment program. Coal is and will remain a strong driver of global warming."
“The EIB deserves a slap on the wrist. Statements and investment policy are completely contradictory. But finger pointing has been done too often”, Berber says. “Our goal was to come up with a positive scenario and show what is in our opinion the only way forward. The award in the shape of a chimney with flowers growing out of it perfectly visualizes the idea. We want to encourage the bank to play a more positive role in the financing of a real energy shift.”
New investment policy for energy
This year the EIB revises its investment policy in energy. Such a revision only takes place once in 5 or 6 years. Research shows that investment in fossil fuels have to cease after 2017, if we want to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. This means that the EIB has to revise its policy now. Berber: “Let’s hope that the Bank changes its mind before June, when the new energy policy will be proposed.”
“But it’s not just about the EIB. The EU Member States, the European Commission and the European Parliament ultimately decide EIB policy. It’s time that they provide for a cleaner future for next generations”, says Mark Fodor, Director of CEE Bankwatch, one of the members of Counter Balance. “If you think about it, it is really absurd that we have to ask for the policy of the European Investment Bank to correspond with the European objectives for sustainability of the EU for 2050. Investments that bind us to polluting energy for years are no longer acceptable. Full transition to renewable energy and efficient energy use are absolutely necessary. "
When the activist started to talk in the press conference, a security guard was called. Apparently the guard did not understand what was going on and gave the activist a microphone! Together with Counter Balance and CEE Bankwatch, Both ENDS hopes that the civil society gets that microphone more often. And most of all: That policy makers listen to civil society more often, and that the EIB excludes all coal fired activities from its investment package!