Under the EIB's new policy, projects from 2022 will have to show they will emit less than 250 grams of carbon dioxide for every one kilowatt hour of energy they produce.
The new policy is particularly stringent and will effectively prohibit funding for natural gas projects despite the industry's attempt to brand itself as a low-emissions fossil fuel alternative to coal and oil.
There was no need for that as the bank said members representing 90 percent of its capital had approved the new energy lending policy. As a part of this effort, the European Central Bank's (ECB) new president, Christine Legarde, has also promised to direct the ECB to focus more closely on climate-related risks in its stress tests for banks.
The strategy notably excludes funding for projects targeting natural gas, which has been viewed by many in the oil and gas industry as an affordable and abundant energy source well fit for bridging the long-term transition from hydrocarbons to lower-carbon energy sources.
"The EIB is sending a message to other financial institutions that investment in fossil fuels is drawing to an end", he said.
"We will stop financing fossil fuels and we will launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere".
"Two weeks before the United Nations climate change conference in Madrid, these decisions send an important signal to the world", EIB vice-president Emma Navarro said.
EIB President Werner Hoyer said in a statement: "Climate is the top issue on the political agenda of our time".
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"The Bank's new lending rules will support the deployment of carbon capture and storage, power-to-gas, hydrogen and biogas", said James Watson, secretary general of Eurogas. "In this way, it will start morphing into the EU's Climate Bank".
The EU has adopted the most advanced legislative framework to meet its 2030 energy and climate targets.
The new policy will cut €2bn (£1.7bn) of yearly investments to fossil fuel projects.
"We look forward to working closely with them and with the EU Council of Ministers, with the European Commission, the European Parliament, global and financial institutions and, crucially, with the private sector, to support a climate neutral European economy by 2050". In India, the impact will probably be zero, as EIB involvement with energy projects in recent years has tended more towards renewable energy financing in any case.
Still, Germany was one of the countries which had resisted a complete end to fossil fuel funding by the EIB. McDowell said the bank wants to "set the standard" for what it means for a multilateral bank to be aligned with the Paris Agreement, a 2015 worldwide pact that addresses climate change.
"Gas lobbyists were able to convince many parties - most significantly Germany and the European commission - to override public support for a fossil free EIB, and write significant concessions into this policy", he said.