[Statement] FDC to the World Bank: Get Out of Dirty Energy and Pay Up Your Climate Debt!

FDC to the World Bank:
Get Out of Dirty Energy and Pay Up Your Climate Debt!

Photo by FDC

Photo by FDC

With the world being witness to and victim of extreme events caused by sudden weather changes, countries, institutions and peoples are challenged to drastically reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to avoid the two-degree Celsius global warming danger threshold. The World Bank Group, however, remains hideously immersed in the dirty energy business. Worse, it has turned deaf to demands for restitution for damages from its continued financing of fossil fuel and hydropower projects while feigning concern for climate change and taking charge of global funds for adaptation and mitigation in developing countries.


This year, the World Bank Group has already approved 11 hydroelectric power projects in several countries across the globe. As of September 2014, it has 78 active projects with six more in the pipeline. In addition, its energy portfolio by 2012 has seen a US$700 million increase from the previous year of its financing for upstream oil, gas and coal. In the Philippines, three coal-fired power plants in Zambales, Quezon and Pangasinan have been funded by the Group through its private sector investment arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

Misleadingly grouped under the Bank’s renewable, “clean” energy portfolio, hydroelectric dams have long been exposed by the scientific community, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), as producers of significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane. Fossil fuels, especially coal, are already widely known as major sources of GHGs.

Yet, despite its track record in supporting dirty energy, the World Bank has unabashedly wiggled its way to becoming the interim trustee for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) established by the United Nations. Originally intended to assist developing countries to cope with the changing climate, the GCF is now being looked at suspiciously by climate activists as the character, management and structure of the fund is being manipulated to mirror the World Bank’s own system and its market-driven, private sector-led propensity.

Further aggravating this situation is the recent redrafting of the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Safeguards Framework which reveals the watering down of policies and mechanisms to protect human rights and natural resources. Accordingly, the 2014 draft provides more latitude, even legal immunity, to the World Bank so as to escape accountability for the harmful impact of its projects.

The World Bank Group’s hypocrisy has to stop now! People must reclaim power over energy systems and promote alternative ones that do not compromise the well-being and even the existence of people and planet. The Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC has painted a grim scenario: global surface temperature is increasing and may surpass in 20 to 30 years the two-degree Celsius threshold if demands for deep and drastic cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from human activities remain unheeded or merely placated. It recommends cuts in current anthropogenic GHG emissions by 40 to 70 percent from 2010 to 2050 towards zero or below by 2100.

With global warming averaging at almost 1°C from 1880 to 2012, the world has already seen and experienced the wastage of lives and livelihoods by extreme weather events. The most recent large-scale devastation happened right here in the Philippines almost a year ago when Typhoon Yolanda victimized more than 16 million people in the Visayas region. No matter how tragic the situation in areas wrecked by Yolanda, the World Bank even saw this as an opportunity to lead the Philippines almost a billion dollars deeper into debt while the country struggles to recover from the effects of global warming that the World Bank has helped to produce.

10 October 2014

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