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Unravelling the Carbon Web is a project by PLATFORM. We work to reduce the environmental and social impacts of oil corporations, to help citizens gain a say in decisions that affect them, and to support the transition to a more sustainable energy economy.

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Pumping Poverty Links

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Summary PDF 173kb

Plan B

EDM 407

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Report - Pumping Poverty

Britain's Department of International Development & the Oil Industry 

Pumping Poverty investigates the role of British overseas development aid in facilitating oil development. It finds that - far from helping the world's poorest people - such aid often serves instead its wealthiest corporations, leaving the poor worse off than before and aggravating global climate change.

Britain's Department for International Development (DFID) serves as a partner in the UK government’s key policy of maintaining energy security. A major part of its role is to use development aid to reform developing countries’ oil taxation and regulation regimes to better favour British business interests – especially in the Former Soviet Union. According to the Foreign Office, which coordinates work on this priority, a key aim is to:

 “improve investment regimes and energy sector management in these regions, focusing on key links in the supply chain to the UK”.

For example, from 2000–2003, DFID recommended to the Russian government that it slash its taxes on oil extraction, transferring billions of dollars from the Russian state to foreign oil companies. DFID’s advisors were consultants that also had oil companies as clients, who had previously had long careers in BP and Shell, and one of whom had lobbied for lower tax on North Sea production since the early 1980s.

DFID represents the UK government in decisions made at the World Bank, and has been consistently supportive of Bank financing for oil projects. These total a massive US$5 billion since 1992. DFID has also supported loans from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) for oil projects in the Former Soviet Union and Eastern European states, totalling over $1billion since 1991.

82 per cent of the World Bank Group (WBG) financing has been for projects that primarily export oil to developed countries and therefore do nothing to meet the energy needs of developing countries. The WBG’s own Extractives Industry Review detailed this disappointing poverty alleviation record, stating that  

“project funding in the extractive industries has not had poverty reduction as its main goal or outcome”.

Plan B

Plan B is a campaign to end the UK government's hidden subsidies for the oil industry. It  is a coalition of campaign groups including, People & Planet, Friends of the Earth, Rising Tide and others. Plan B's current project is inspired by Pumping Poverty and calls for an end to UK development aid for oil projects in developing countries.

Find out more about Plan B here.

MPs support motion to end development aid for oil. 

In early 2005, 116 Members of Parliament signed an Early Day Motion calling for the phasing out of development aid for oil. The support for the motion was cut short by the general election.

The motion has since been re-tabled and has now overtaken the previous one, with 127 supporters in May 06.

To see which MPs support the motion go here.

If your MP is not on the list write to them urging them to support EDM 407. If they are there write to them to thank them and ask them what more they will do to help end development aid for oil.

For an easy way to write to your MP use www.writetothem.com/