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Climate of Export Credit Agencies

Reveals that export credit and investment insurance agencies (ECAs) as a group are promoting exports and investments to developing countries that will contribute to long-term increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

Executive Summary

Despite commitments to technology transfer and efforts to put in place a clean development mechanism (CDM), climate negotiators, civil society groups, and development finance experts have overlooked a set of public financing institutions who are already influencing the energy-intensity of developing economies.

These institutions, known as export credit and investment insurance agencies (ECAs), facilitate private investment from the north to developing countries. They support significant infrastructure development, yet little is known about the climate implications of the projects they co-finance.

The authors evaluate ECA financing activities in developing countries from a climate perspective. The report reveals that ECAs as a group are promoting exports and investments to developing countries that will contribute to long-term increases in greenhouse gas emissions.

The report's main findings include:

  • ECAs co-financed (through loans, risk guarantees or investment insurance) $103 billion in exports and projects for oil and gas development, fossil-fueled power, transportation infrastructure, aircraft sales, and energy-intensive manufacturing (chemicals, pulp and paper, and iron and steel);
  • The top destinations of ECA financing for energy-intensive activities included leading non-Annex I sources of greenhouse gas emissions (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia and Mexico);
  • The seven leading industrialized economies (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States) provided most of the ECA financing for energy-intensive exports or projects;
  • Most ECAs have no formal environmental assessment policies, disclose little environmental information to the public, and do not evaluate the emissions of projects they finance.

The report proposes a reform agenda to align ECAs' export and investment promotion objectives with the commitments governments made under the climate convention.

The principal elements of this reform agenda include routine estimation and reporting of projects' greenhouse gas emissions, creation of financing mechanisms for small-scale renewable energy and energy-efficiency, and the inclusion of climate-related criteria in a set of common environmental guidelines for ECAs.

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