World Bank energy policy under scrutiny

17 September 2006

A new report published by a coalition of international environment and development non-governmental organisations concludes that the World Bank’s promise to seriously support alternative energy sources remains unfulfilled. The report, whose authors include Bretton Woods Project, International Rivers Network, Friends of the Earth Indonesia and Oil Change International is being launched at the World Bank’s annual meetings in Singapore. It has been written to coincide with the World Bank’s own progress report of its clean energy investment framework which is being presented on the same day.

The World Bank’s Investment framework is a response to a mandate from the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005. Its stated mandate is to increase access to energy in developing countries, reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector, and assist developing countries to adapt to climate change (see Update 51)

However, NGOs point out that the World Bank’s new investment framework on clean energy and development will not be effective at combating climate change and expanding energy access for the poor: it proposes raising $10 billion for conventional energy technologies, while selling renewable sources of energy short and promotes coal-fired power, nuclear power and large hydropower projects.

end public funding for fossil fuel projects

These organisations are calling on the World Bank, international financial institutions and governments to:

  • end public subsidies for fossil fuel projects;
  • step up efforts to meet the basic energy needs of the poor; and
  • redirect existing dirty energy financing to renewable technologies and energy efficiency projects via a new Renewable Energy for Development Agency

As NGOs launch their report Pantoro Tri Kuswar, one of the co-authors from Friends of the Earth Indonesia/Walhi said “Poor communities in developing countries are already paying the highest prices of climate change, living with the impacts of heavy droughts and floods. The World Bank’s focus on fossil fuel projects will not bring electricity to the poor, but rather lead to more pollution, conflict and corruption and do little to stop climate change”.

NGOs are to hold a press conference on the report at the CSO centre on the first floor of the Suntect Centre in Singapore on Sunday 17 September.