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100 to 1: EFIC’s gamble with climate

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L. Phelan
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This report explores the ways in which Australia’s Export Finance Insurance Corporation (EFIC) may be undermining efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It argues that,  through its export credit agency (ECA), the Australian Government facilitates and encourages the development of many highly polluting projects in developing countries. The authors point out that the Australian Government has frequently declared that it will not ratify the Kyoto Protocol because it does not require mandatory cuts in emissions from developing countries. However, the Government actively promotes the long-term growth in developing country emissions, they argue. Based on analysis of EFIC Annual Reports, they find that over the past 11 years the institution has been a substantial contributor to climate change through its significant backing of exports of fossil fuels and support for investment in power sector infrastructure. Specific findings in the report include:

EFIC backs fossil fuels over renewable energy at a rate of more than 100:1
the support that EFIC has provided to facilitate coal exports (around $7.2b) and fossil fuel based power sector infrastructure ($439m) is far greater the mere $67m in renewables that EFIC has supported over the same period
the EFIC is a key inhibitor of the shift to renewable energy sources in the Asia Pacific region.

The report makes a number of specific recommendations to the EFIC under the following three broad categories:

Transparency, carbon disclosure and targets
Phase out support for fossil fuels
Phase in support for renewable energy.