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World Bank, Climate Change and Energy Financing

Posted Apr. 13, 2011 / Posted by: RConnors

World Bank, Climate Change and Energy Financing

Something Old. Something New?

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Examining seven case studies, a new report titled World Bank, Climate Change and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New?demonstrates what the World Bank Group is doing around the globe in the realms of climate change and energy projects. It explains how the World Bank’s delivers its financing, as well as the impacts of this funding on the ground.

With a legacy of causing environmental and social harm, increasing climate change pollution, evasion of safeguards and accountability, and failure to reduce poverty, the World Bank must make radical changes to the way it does business.

As seen throughout this report, financing large-scale infrastructure projects for energy and revenue generation, as the World Bank often does, is unlikely to lead to a trickle-down effect that alleviates poverty or brings electricity to those who lack it. Rather, it most often benefits export-oriented, energy-intensive industry and urban centers, along with large agribusiness. Furthermore, although the World Bank has rigorously documented the disproportionate impacts that climate change will have -- and is already having -- on the world’s poor, the institution has massively scaled up fossil fuel financing in recent years, to the tune of a 400% increase between 2006 and 2010, according to the Bank Information Center.

World Bank protestRight now is a crucial time to highlight the damage World Bank projects have done in developing countries for several reasons. First, the World Bank is currently re-vamping its Energy Sector Strategy for the first time in more than a decade.  Second, President Obama has requested more than $117 million in new money for the institution.  And finally, the World Bank wants to have an influential role in the UN’s new Green Climate Fund, which will help developing countries deal with climate change and transition to clean economies.

Without a dramatic transformation, the World Bank will continue failing to live up to its motto of “Working for a world free of poverty,” while undermining any attempts it makes to claim leadership in halting climate change and hastening the transition to low-carbon economies.

Media release | Download report | Download summary of the case studies

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