Ahead of Glasgow, Merkley and Huffman Introduce Legislation to Halt International Financial Institutions’ Investment in Fossil Fuels

Ahead of Glasgow, Merkley and Huffman Introduce Legislation to Halt International Financial Institutions’ Investment in Fossil Fuels

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley and Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA-02) today introduced the Sustainable International Financial Institutions Act of 2021, which would tackle the problem of international financial institutions helping to finance fossil fuel projects that are accelerating climate chaos.

The bill introduction comes as the United States is preparing to participate in a major international climate summit in Glasgow from October 31 through November 12.

“Fossil fuel investments play a key role in accelerating climate chaos, which continues to spiral further and further out of control and claim lives and livelihoods in the process,” said Merkley. “As we gather as an international community next week, it’s time for global leaders to rethink the role that international financial institutions play in financing fossil fuel projects. We should be building out the energy sources of the future, not trapping developing communities and nations with outdated and dangerous fossil fuel infrastructure.”

“Under the leadership of President Biden, the United States rejoined the Paris Agreement earlier this year and renewed our commitment to meeting global climate targets and reducing emissions,” said Huffman. “It is clear, we must pursue bold action, both at home and through our investments abroad, to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. As the United States looks to reassert global climate leadership at the upcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, our government must work to assist other countries in their transition away from dirty fossil fuels and toward a clean and sustainable future. This means putting an end to American taxpayer-funded dirty infrastructure projects abroad, and instead channeling assistance toward sustainable development. This legislation will help put America back on track as a global leader in the effort to cut carbon pollution, while advancing international cooperation toward the Paris climate goals.”

The Sustainable International Financial Institutions Act of 2021 would prioritize the shift to clean and renewable energy sources on the international stage by ensuring that the United States uses its voice and vote in international financial institutions to divest from fossil fuel investments.

Scientists predict that the global community must make a rapid transition away from fossil fuel energy and towards a renewable energy economy in order to prevent catastrophic warming. Building new fossil fuel projects—which are often built to operate for multiple decades into the future—severely threatens the viability of the path to achieve the emissions cuts climate scientists say are necessary to save lives and jobs. 

Merkley, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be traveling to Glasgow next week as part of a U.S. congressional delegation to the climate summit.