Sufficient and appropriately directed global public investment is critical to shift our economies to zero carbon. Currently such investment is inadequate, and still funds additional fossil fuel dependent transport infrastructure. This report explores UK and EU global public investment in transport.

This  publication strengthens the calls for climate finance agreed at COP26 to be sufficient to address the climate emergency. Global fossil fuel subsidies of $450 billion dwarfed additional international climate finance of $43 billion in 2020. Arbitrary funding targets, dubious accounting and outdated ideas about how funding should be spent perpetuate the status quo. European governments must lead in ensuring public investment in zero carbon is provided internationally on the same basis as domestically.

About the project:

This report is part of a project led by the Green European Foundation exploring what a climate emergency economy would look like through a rethinking of trade, industry and infrastructure investment. The project is supported by Green House Think Tank in the UK alongside green foundations in the Netherlands, Ireland, Bulgaria, Poland and Finland. It is organised with the financial support of the European Parliament to the Green European Foundation.



Global Public Investment Requirements for Zero Carbon examines how international aid, loans from development banks and export finance all continue to fund fossil fuel-dependent developments. This is particularly true in the transport sector, which soaked up around 20% of global official development assistance from 2014-2019. And rather than zero carbon transport systems to serve local populations, much of this aid is funding new roads, airports, ports and rail projects that support export-orientated economic growth.

The report sets out three clear recommendations the following:

  1. Climate finance must be additional to the meeting of existing 0.7% target for aid;
  2. All countries must stop financing infrastructure that locks in fossil fuel use and align aid and public expenditure to tackling the climate and ecological emergency;
  3. Global public investment must be more accountable, equitable and effective.


“As we approach COP26, all countries must commit to stop double-counting climate finance with pre-existing official development assistance commitments, and ensure both are sufficient and fully aligned with the Paris Commitment to avoid dangerous climate change. That means that financing of infrastructure that accelerates must end now, both at home and abroad.”


Audiovisual material


This publication has been realised with the support of the Green House Think Tank, and the financial support of the European Parliament to the Green European Foundation. The European Parliament is not responsible for the content of this publication.

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    2021, November 04
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