UK foreign aid for fossil fuels was double the amount spent on overseas renewable energy between 2010 and 2014.
That’s according to the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD), which says out of the money spent on improving energy systems in developing countries, 46% went into areas such as coal, gas and oil compared to just 22% on renewable energy like wind and solar power.
The group says emissions from fossil fuels are causing climate change and pushing people in poor communities deeper into poverty, in contradiction with international obligations such as the Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
One of the SDGs aims is to ensure everyone has access to affordable and sustainable energy by 2030 – CAFOD says this will be easier, cheaper and safer to achieve with renewable energy.
It adds although the Department for International Development has shown progress by spending more aid money on supporting renewable energy than on fossil fuels, this progress is being undermined elsewhere in government.
The group claims the UK Export Finance department gave more than 99% of money earmarked for overseas energy to fossil fuels over the period.
Dr Sarah Wykes, Lead Analyst on Climate Change and Energy at CAFOD, said: “Supporting fossil fuels overseas puts UK leadership at risk at a time when it is needed now more than ever on the Paris Agreement.
“We’d like some clarity from the government on how it plans to make its energy spending consistent with its promises to tackle climate change and help the world’s poorest people access modern energy services.”