Europe needs to acknowledge that its future is no longer with fossil fuels, said the President of the European Investment Bank as he presented the bank’s 2020 results.
“To put it mildly, gas is over,” Werner Hoyer said.
“This is a serious departure from the past, but without the end to the use of unabated fossil fuels, we will not be able to reach the climate targets,” he added, according to Euractiv.com.
The EU aims to reach net zero emissions by 2050 and is expected to adopt a new carbon reduction target of -55% for 2030. However, gas has remained a grey area, with the European Commission saying it will still be needed to help coal-reliant EU member states transition away from fossil fuels.
Under their climate bank roadmap published in 2020, the EIB plans to use 50% of its activity to support climate and environmental sustainability, unlocking €1 trillion for green funding by 2030. It will also ensure that all activity is aligned with the Paris Agreement.
Gas has limited support under the EIB’s climate roadmap. Only power plants emitting less than 250 grammes of CO2 per kilowatt-hour are currently eligible for support under the bank’s rules and the EIB intends to pursue its decarbonisation policy by phasing out all funding for fossil fuels before the end of the year.
Funding for large-scale heat production based on unabated oil, natural gas, coal or peat, upstream oil and gas production or traditional gas infrastructure will all be stopped by 1 January 2021, the EIB explained.
Instead, more finance will go towards energy efficiency projects, renewable energy projects, green innovation and research, Hoyer said.