The World Bank is continuing a pattern of investing billions of dollars in fossil fuels, undercutting its own commitment in late 2018 to increase funding for climate change mitigation and adaptation between 2021 and 2025.
A report released last week by climate campaigners at Berlin-based Urgewald shows the agency handing US$2 billion to fossils over the last two years, and $12 billion since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, Bloomberg Green reports, with most of the money supporting new projects.
Urgewald released its study ahead of the World Bank’s annual meetings this week. “The bank has said that without urgent measures to mitigate the effects of global warming, climate change will drive more than 100 million people into poverty by 2030,” Bloomberg writes. But a statement from Urgewald declared the bank itself a “big part of the problem”.
“The new report with updated data shows that the bank hasn’t reduced its support for fossil fuels,” said Heike Mainhardt, Urgewald’s senior advisor for multilateral development banks. “They have promised to help countries to make the energy transition, but what they are really doing is helping the expansion of fossil fuels.”
The bank said it stopped investments in oil and gas exploration in 2019, but was still helping out “resource-dependent developing countries” with “advice on energy solutions that are economically viable,” Bloomberg says.
“Reliable energy services are key to preventing and fighting COVID-19,” the bank stated. “We are working with governments, the private sector, and other partners to repurpose and accelerate energy operations to provide clean, reliable, and affordable energy to hospitals and other critical health facilities.”
But Urgewald cited $38 million in technical assistance funding for upstream oil and gas that the bank approved in May 2020, as well as a controversial, $20-million grant to a petroleum governance and management project in Guyana that won’t end until April 2021 at the earliest.