The leaders of Australia and Norway have added their countries’ names to a growing list of nations and institutions that have vowed to end international public financing for fossil fuels.

Norway joined the Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP) over the weekend, while Australia signed up today at this year’s Cop28 climate change conference.

To date, 41 countries and organisations, including the US, Canada, the UK and Germany, have signed on to the CETP, also known as the Glasgow Statement after it was launched in the Scottish city during Cop26.

Norway – a leading oil and gas producer – has taken “its first step towards becoming the international climate leader it has long claimed to be”, says Dina Rui, public finance programme lead at the Nordic Center for Sustainable Finance, ActionAid Denmark.

Australia’s minister for climate change and energy, Chris Bowen, says the pledge means that “after a decade of denial and delay, Australia is finally being taken seriously as a constructive international trading partner and investor determined to take meaningful action on climate change”.

Between 2019 and 2022, just 19% of financing from Australia’s export credit agency (ECA), Export Finance Australia (EFA), went to clean energy, while oil, gas and coal received almost double the funding, according to an Oil Change International (OCI) report.

“In joining the CETP, the Albanese government is taking the long-overdue step of acknowledging that foreign aid and federal export finance should not be squandered on fossil fuel expansion,” says James Sherley, climate justice campaigner at human rights and environmental organisation Jubilee Australia.

“To deliver on its promise will require strong implementation, which we will be watching closely,” Sherley adds.

The new CETP joiners could also spur change in fossil fuel policy within the OECD Arrangement on Officially Supported Export Credits.

“This has quite a big impact on the OECD because it means that now eight out of 11 OECD negotiating countries have made this commitment to end export finance for fossil fuels,” Nina Pušić, OECD export finance climate strategist at Oil Change International (OCI), tells GTR.

The CETP requires signatories to drive multilateral negotiations in the OECD “to review, update and strengthen their governance frameworks to align with the Paris Agreement goals”.

At an OECD meeting last month, the UK, EU and Canada supported a proposal to end the provision of export credits for new oil and gas projects, following restrictions already imposed on coal financing.

“Norway and Australia have committed to doing this, which means that they would be expected to align with the EU, UK and Canada’s proposal to end oil and gas export financing at the OECD level,” Pušić says.

“We have an increasing number of countries that are moving their finance from fossil fuels into clean energy, which gives the countries that haven’t done it yet fewer and fewer excuses,” Pušić says, adding that Japan and Korea will be under particular scrutiny.

Australia and Norway have a year to implement the pledge, though to date not every country that initially signed up to the pledge – notably the US and Italy – has met the deadline of December 2022. Germany has also been criticised for missing the target.

ECAs are increasingly becoming the focus of lawsuits from civil society organisations who argue they should be held accountable for the impact their taxpayer-funded financing has on the environment.

Friends of the Earth today filed a complaint to the OECD, claiming that by continuing to finance fossil fuel projects, the US Export-Import Bank is contravening OECD guidelines that require it to adhere to national and international environmental policies like the CETP.

And in July, Jubilee Australia filed a lawsuit against EFA and the taxpayer-subsidised Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility in a bid to compel them to disclose the environmental effects of fossil fuel projects they’ve funded.

Jubilee Australia argues that under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, EFA is required to state in its annual reports how its activities measure up against the principles of sustainable development.

This week’s events at Cop28 also include the global stocktake, where countries measure progress made towards the objectives of the Paris Agreement and negotiate an agreement for a full, funded phaseout of all fossil fuels.

ECAs became the latest group of financial institutions to commit to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 with the launch of the Net Zero Export Credit Alliance.