In November 2019, the European Investment Bank (EIB) took important commitments to become the “EU Climate Bank”
1. Unlock €1 trillion of climate and environmental investments until 2030;
2. At least 50% of EIB finance will be dedicated to climate and environmental sustainability by 2025;
3. By the end of 2020, the EIB will align all its financing activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement
The EIB however has yet to deliver on its climate commitments. To achieve this, the bank is currently working on the creation of a Climate Bank Roadmap 2021-2025 to guide this transition. This opportunity must be seized by civil society, EU institutions and the bank’s shareholders if the EIB commitments are to materialize. If urgent action is not taken in 2020, the EIB will be nowhere near Paris-alignment.
This transformation into the “EU Climate Bank” is all the more important considering that the EIB will play a flagship role under the EU economic recovery package following the COVID-19 crisis and its dreadful economic consequences.
Given the long-term perspective of EIB loans and operations, this necessary economic response to the COVID-19 crisis must be complementary to the efforts to steer the European economy into a more sustainable and fairer path. There is no more time to lose if we want to avoid climate breakdown.
According to the most recent UN Emissions Gap report, countries would need to reduce emissions by 7.6% a year to meet the 1.5°C target. Yet, emissions worldwide have been increasing by 1.5% per year in the last decade. It is furthermore clear that developing countries cannot achieve this on their own, they need access to predictable finance that is grounded in impact and effectiveness.
As flagged in an open letter sent by NGOs to the EIB President Werner Hoyer in April 2020, we think that there is no inherent incompatibility between the EIB’s climate commitments and its future role in the European economic recovery. Civil society organisations, think-tanks, academics and policymakers from all around the world have similarly been calling for green recovery plans to deal with the COVID-19’s impacts and simultaneously deliver a more just and sustainable future.