Just a month before releasing a new report on climate change and the need to “turn down the heat” (see Update 86), the World Bank agreed a $50 million loan to the Chinese prefecture of Shangrao, located in the northeast of China’s Jiangxi province, to build a new airport. According to Binyam Reja, World Bank lead transport specialist in China, the $105 million airport project, which was approved in mid May, will “incorporat[e] environmental sustainability to reduce carbon emissions as well as energy saving”. Never mind that aviation is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector and the most climate-intensive form of transport. Nor that Shangrao lies on one of China’s planned high speed rail routes. A perusal of the procurement plan for the project reveals that energy saving measures are called for only in relation to the “storm water reuse system” and a “ground aircraft auxiliary power unit”. Those will surely be helpful when climate-change induced flooding hits the airport.
It is time for the IMF and World Bank to understand their own responsibility and decolonise their approach.
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