Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Bravo, EIB

Bankers and bean-counters generally have a reputation of  undue conservatism. So it was a pleasant surprise to learn that the European Investment Bank, in which the UK has a stake, proposes to end investment in fossil-fuel projects. The EIB has invested billions of euros in oil, gas and coal extraction over the years, and been criticised for it, but it appears that the current proposal is based not only on ethical considerations. The bank has to think long-term, as Deirdre Cooper of Investec pointed out on BBC TVs Business Briefing this morning. There is no point in sinking funds into a project over thirty years if it is likely to fail down the line.

Sadly, the politics of Germany and Poland, which depend on imports of natural gas as well as the extraction of coal, especially the filthy lignite, mean that those nations will oppose the move and appear to have persuaded the European Commission to take the same line. One trusts that the UK representative on the board, ignoring the personal financial interests of his political masters, will be more progressive - and hard-nosed.

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