Policy shift as Britain pledges to stop direct government support for overseas fossil fuel projects

In a statement the office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, it will pledge to end direct government support for overseas fossil fuel projects at a U.N. summit at a move aimed at tackling climate change.

Britain will be co-hosting the virtual summit ahead of climate negotiations in Glasgow in 2021.

Climate change campaigners have accused Britain of hypocrisy for continuing to finance climate-warming oil and natural gas projects abroad.

“By taking ambitious and decisive action today, we will create the jobs of the future, drive the recovery from coronavirus and protect our beautiful planet for generations to come,” said Johnson in a statement.

More than 70 countries, including leaders from India, Japan, Canada and China are due to unveil a slew of climate commitments at the summit.

Britain is likely to be the first major economy to commit to ending public finance for overseas fossil fuel projects.

“This policy shift sets a new gold standard for what serious climate action looks like,” said Louise Burrows, policy adviser with consultancy E3G. “Britain now has a mandate to mobilise other countries to follow suit.”

Incidentally, the UK Export Finance agency has offered guarantees worth billions of dollars to help British oil and gas companies expand in countries such as Brazil, Iraq, Argentina and Russia.

The government said the new policy would come into effect “as soon as possible” and would mean no further state support for oil, natural gas or coal projects overseas, including via development aid, export finance and trade promotion.

There would be “very limited exceptions” for gas-fired power plants within “strict parameters” in line with the Paris deal, said the statement.

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