World Bank kicks coal, but will the rest of the world follow?

● By Colin Hunt, Honorary Fellow in Economics at University of Queensland ● World Bank president Jim Yong Kim recently announced that the Bank would cut coal from its portfolio of investment projects. New coal powered generation will now receive financial support only in “rare circumstances”. Gas will remain in the Bank’s investment mix but as a transitional fuel. But will this decision change anything? The World Bank has led international development banks in its embrace of coal over the last five years, according to Oil Change International. The overall portfolios of the major development banks as well as the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, have been heavily weighted towards fossil fuel development rather than renewables. The World Bank’s change in focus favouring renewable energy won’t have a great impact on the spending priorities in the near future because its last loan to a coal-fired plant was in 2010. Much larger will be the impact on other lending institutions. A reasonable expectation is that the decision to spurn coal will also permeate the domestic policies of countries continuing to build coal-fired power plants. The new president Dr Kim has managed to get the no coal policy through the Bank’s board. In the past the strategy has been blocked by China, India, and Saudi Arabia. Civil society has been pressing for change. No doubt the bank’s board was also influenced by the late 2012 report it commissioned from the Potsdam Institute. This describes what the world would be like if it warmed by 4°C – an almost unanimous prediction by scientists by the end of the century without serious policy changes: “The lack of action on climate change not only risks putting prosperity out of reach of millions of people in the developing world, it threatens to roll back decades of sustainable development.” The International Energy Agency might also have been influential in the Bank’s change ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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