The World Bank is contributing US$21 billion to finance fossil fuel projects, compared to only $7 billion for renewable energy, notwithstanding then-president Jim Yong Kim 2015 promise that the institution would “do its utmost” to support the goals of the Paris Agreement, German NGO Urgewald reports in a scathing study released yesterday in Washington.
“It is a big disappointment to find that the World Bank Group continues to provide such vast amounts of public finance for fossil fuels,” said report author Heike Mainhardt, based on analysis of 675 energy sector projects. “The Bank thereby completely undermines its own efforts for renewable energy sources as well as the Paris climate goals.”
Kim received wide acclaim at French President Emmanuel Macron’s One Planet Summit in December 2017 for announcing the World Bank would no longer finance upstream oil and gas exploration or development after 2019, except in very exceptional circumstances in the poorest countries. The institution had previously announced a 2018 target date to begin publicly reporting greenhouse gas emissions from the investment projects it supports.
A year later, the Bank committed US$200 billion to fund climate change mitigation and adaptation between 2021 and 2025, double its previous budget, and signaled it would fund the two aspects of the crisis equally for the first time.
Now, Urgewald is demanding that Kim’s Trump-appointed successor, David Malpass, make good on those promises by divesting from a string of projects that directly or indirectly support coal, oil, or natural gas development.
“The recent [cyclone] in Southeast Africa makes it utterly clear that the climate crisis is above all a crisis for the poorest. The World Bank must immediately get out of coal, oil, and gas if it is not to damage its noble goal of fighting poverty,” said Urgewald World Bank campaigner Ute Koczy.
“It should advocate an upstream carbon tax for fossil exploration and extraction that effectively reduces the use of fossil fuels,” and “the promotion of decentralized, renewable energy systems must be at the heart of its energy strategy,” Koczy added.