Joe Biden has pledged to work to end public funding of ‘carbon-intensive’ fossil fuel projects – a wording campaigners fear leaves the door open to methane gas

Joe Biden’s administration is working to end funding for “carbon-intensive” fossil fuel projects overseas, potentially cancelling billions of dollars in support for oil and gas projects around the world.

In one in a series of executive orders aimed at tackling the climate crisis in the US and abroad, Biden committed his government “to identify steps through which the United States can promote ending international financing of carbon-intensive fossil fuel-based energy while simultaneously advancing sustainable development and a green recovery”.

The order stated the secretary of state together with the treasury and energy secretaries would work with the US Export–Import Bank and the head of the Development Finance Corporation to achieve this.

Biden also directed federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. “Unlike previous administrations, I don’t think the federal government should give handouts to big oil to the tune of $40 billion in fossil fuel subsidies,” he said in a speech before signing the executive order.

A few hours earlier, presidential climate envoy John Kerry told a panel discussion organised by the World Economic Forum that Biden had asked his administration to develop “a plan for ending international finance of fossil fuel projects with public money”.

The announcement brings the US in line with the EU, where foreign ministers have called this week for an end to fossil fuel finance abroad. Last month, the UK committed to ending its financing of oil and gas projects, but the policy is yet to come into force.

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