In the coming decades, immense investments in clean energy will be needed to ensure we appropriately confront climate change. As the European Investment Bank is the world’s largest multilateral lender, it was of the utmost importance that it shifted his investments away from the fossil fuel industry.
The EU has committed to keep the increase in global average temperature well below 2℃ compared to pre-industrial levels under the Paris Agreement. For this to occur, the EU must steer all of its investments towards renewable energy and away from finite resources. However, in 2018, three years after the Paris Agreement was signed, the European Investment Bank (EIB) continued to extensively capitalize the fossil fuel industry. Counter Balance, a group of NGOs working for an equitable and environmentally sustainable society, decided to take a stand.
To help Counter Balance in its mission to challenge public investments, The Good Lobby connected them with Mark Clough QC (Senior Counsel) & Samuel Berneman (Associate) from the law firm Dentons to draft a legal opinion on the obligations of the European Investment Bank under the Paris Agreement.
This legal opinion was intended to assist Counter Balance and Friends of Europe to find the best legal and advocacy courses of action to change the European Investment Bank’s energy lending policy. It clarified that it is very difficult to use legal action to change the EIB’s policies and by extension to trigger concrete change.
Nevertheless, Counter Balance has continued to monitor the EIB’s lending policies and challenge public financial investments, including those related to other highly-polluting activities such as building new airports and motorways.
In 2019, the European Investment Bank changed its energy lending policy, promising to become the world’s climate bank. From the end of 2021 onwards, all fossil fuel lending will come to an end. Parallel to that, the EIB is set to unlock 1 trillion euros in investments for climate and environmental action before 2030.
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