As nations around the globe look to clean energy to solve environmental and economic problems, the burden is on the wealthiest nations to lead the way. The UK has broken a promise to support green energy projects and invested 314 times as much in ‘dirty’ energy projects than in clean energy. This move creates some skepticism about the UK’s commitment to green technologies.
In a 2010 coalition agreement, UK lawmakers agreed UK Export Finance (UKEF) would invest in British companies that export green technologies around the world, helping to expand eco-friendly infrastructure on a global scale. That promise hasn’t held. The department has given just £3.6 million (around USD $5.4 million) to green energy projects around the world, compared to an allotment of £1.13bn (USD $1.7 billion) for fossil fuel energy operations.
Critics of the dirty dollars are accusing the coalition government of wasting taxpayers’ money on Russian coal mining and the Saudi oil industry, while short-changing Britain’s clean technologies. With growing concerns about the impact of fossil fuels on the environment, UKEF will eventually have to answer to the public about why spending has gone so awry. A UKEF spokesperson claimed that market demand caused a change in the priority of investments, but no solid explanation was offered for breaking their 2010 green pledge.
The spending reports that demonstrated UKEF’s broken promise came to light just after campaigners acquired documents from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that illustrate $15 billion in funding for coal plants and mining around the globe. The UK is a member of the export credit division of OECD, which is now considering limits on funding for projects that do not meet greenhouse gas emissions standards. If such restrictions pass, time will tell whether the UK will feel any pressure from their global partners about where to invest taxpayer funds in the future.
Via The Guardian