In June 2013, WWF launched Seize Your Power, a global campaign calling on financial institutions to significantly increase their funding of renewable energy and cut funding to fossil fuels. The action recognises that the level of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere requires drastic action if we are to limit global warming.
As the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the European Union and its 28 Member States have a crucial role to play. The EPO actively supported WWF’s global campaign by targeting the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
WWF targeted two of the world’s largest public financial institutions and called on them to end support of fossil fuels. Pressure was applied to the Banks through different channels including direct advocacy towards EIB and EBRD staff, EU national governments, and traditional and social media.
In July 2013, the EIB adopted measures which will phase-out support for coal and lignite power plants
. By November, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the UK, had joined the US in ending public finance for new overseas coal-fired power plants. In December 2013, the EBRD followed suit and committed to phase-out financial support for coal plants
(with exemptions) and promote investments in renewable energy and energy savings.
So what’s the next step?
In 2015, WWF will closely monitor how the EIB and the EBRD implement their new ‘anti-coal policy’ and whether the banks and Member states will actually ‘walk the talk’.