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World Bank requires energy rethink – WWF

Monday 23 June 2008

emissionsThe World Bank’s investments in the energy industry need to move away from fossil fuel projects and take greater emphasis on renewables if it is to fulfill its position of ‘the environmental bank’ as claimed by PM Gordon Brown, says WWF-UK.

Despite significant support of the renewables sector, the World Bank has continued to back the fossil fuel market to the tune of $1bn per year since 2005. Despite targets of 20% annual increases of renewable funding, WWF-UK claims in new research that the figure was only 2% between 2006 and 2007. According to WWF-UK’s report, the levels of current funding are not in line with global climate change predictions, with no immediate indications of a policy shift in the near future.

“The World Bank holds significant influence and as a global leader should be setting a precedent for other major public and private financial institutions with its decisions on energy financing. The energy infrastructure that it finances today lays the foundation for the global emissions profile of the future,” said Toby Quantrill, Head of International Governance at WWF-UK. “If the World Bank is truly serious about addressing climate change, it can waste no time in rapidly and fundamentally shifting its energy investment portfolio to one that is both cleaner and greener.”

The conservation group is calling on the UK Government as a major shareholder in the World Bank to lead the change within the organisation, beginning with a scheduled phase-out for fossil fuel support and an increasing low-carbon and renewable portfolio, as well as creating a way in which the World Bank’s carbon footprint can be accounted for.

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