New Report Details Consequences of World Bank’s Fossil Fuel Bing

Bank’s pattern of harmful lending disqualifies it from role in climate finance

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The World Bank continues its fossil fuel financing binge, evading environmental standards and worsening poverty and pollution — that’s the conclusion of a new report released today, just before the start of the World Bank’s spring meetings in Washington, D.C.

The report, World Bank, Climate Change and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New?, was authored by experts at six non-governmental organizations and examines World Bank Group energy financing in a climate-constrained world. Through a series of seven case studies, the report shows how the Bank’s surge in direct and indirect fossil fuel financing and its support for large-scale energy infrastructure projects have poor poverty alleviation outcomes and call into question the institution’s claim that it is providing leadership on climate change in the developing world.

Such considerations are especially pertinent as the World Bank revamps its Energy Sector Strategy for the first time in more than a decade, as President Obama requests more than $117 million in new money for the institution, and as the Bank seeks an influential role in the UN’s new Green Climate Fund.

“The World Bank’s legacy of environmental and social harm, evasion of safeguards and accountability, and questionable track record on reducing poverty continue to cause serious problems. Regrettably, the World Bank’s draft Energy Sector Strategy looks set to maintain the polluting practices we document in this report: carbon-intensive, large-scale financing, with trickle-down benefits for the poor that are hoped for, but not often achieved,” said Sunita Dubey of groundWork/Friends of the Earth South Africa, co-editor of the report.

“In an era of poverty and climate change, clean energy leadership is called for instead of dirty business as usual. The Bank needs to clean up its act before aiming to put itself at the center of efforts to respond to climate change. It must not play any role in designing or managing the new UN green climate fund,” said Karen Orenstein of Friends of the Earth U.S., co-editor of the report.  “At a time of fiscal austerity and limited resources for international development finance, the World Bank is making a poor case for why Congress should hand it more than $117 million in 2012.”

The report’s conclusions include:
o    Environmental and social safeguards apply to an ever decreasing proportion of the World Bank Group’s financing portfolio;
o    Even for projects where safeguards do apply, the Bank has not incorporated the lessons of past project failings;
o    Deep questions remain about the World Bank’s ability to meet its own sustainable development and poverty alleviation goals;
o    The Bank’s rapidly expanding fossil fuel financing is not alleviating energy poverty for poor communities.

The seven case studies profiled in World Bank, Climate Change, and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New? examine:
o    World Bank support for fossil fuels through infrastructure lending and financial intermediaries;
o    the Bank’s Carbon Finance Unit (which facilitates international offsetting and carbon trading) and support for the UN Clean Development Mechanism’s Plantar project in Brazil;
o    the role of the Bank in Nigeria’s energy sector;
o    the International Finance Corporation’s loan for a coal plant in India;
o    the World Bank’s loan for the controversial Eskom coal project in South Africa;
o    the legacy of Bank support for large hydropower and the Nam Theun 2 Hydropower Project in Laos; and
o    development policy loans in Brazil and the Belo Monte Dam Complex.

The report is published by by Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (CRBM, Italy), CDM Watch (Belgium), Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, International Rivers (US), Friends of the Earth U.S., groundWork/Friends of the Earth South Africa, and Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE, India).

It can be found at

Karen Orenstein
Friends of the Earth U.S.
+1-202-222-0717 (direct)
skype: ponizarga

REDD: the realities in black and white

Read the latest report from Friends of the Earth International on the “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing Countries” scheme and find out why it’s too good to be true.
Download it here

Women and climate change in Cochabamba

By Ana Filippini, Latin American Focal Point of the international  network Gender CC, Women for Climate Justice, – email

An analysis of the Peoples’ Agreement (1) that emerged from the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, held from 20 to 22 April in Cochabamba (Bolivia) may lead us to think that the gender issue was not present at that Conference.

Although in general terms it may be true that a gender perspective was not substantially incorporated into the conclusions of the working groups, gender language and references to women can be found in some of the texts. However, when women are brought up in the working groups’ conclusions, it is mainly as vulnerable group. For example, group 6 on migrations specifies that it is women who suffer the most in situations arising from migration; group 7 on indigenous peoples, calls for the full and effective participation of vulnerable groups, including women; group 8 on climate debt mentions women twice in connection with vulnerable groups; group 12 on funding appeals for women to have representation in the new funding mechanism that should be set up to take on the costs of climate change; and group 14 on forests asks for recognition of the role of women in the preservation of cultures and the conservation of native forests and jungles and proposes the establishment of an expert group with representation of at least 50% by women. (1)

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From Copenhagen to Cochabamba: Walking We Ask Questions, 2.0?

by Tadzio Mueller, May 2010

The Run-Up

Copenhagen, Denmark, December 2009. The climate summit’s failure manages to underwhelm even the already low expectations of the emerging global climate justice movement. Once it becomes obvious that none of the major emitters, neither the US nor the EU, Japan or Australia, has committed to the necessary dramatic emissions reductions, the so-called “Copenhagen Accord” is being negotiated outside the official processes under the leadership of the United States. (And why should the major emitters reduce their emissions? In a fossil-fuel based capitalist economy, reducing emissions implies a politically unpalatable reduction of economic growth.) The Accord claims it wants to limit global warming to 2° Celsius, but in pursuit of this ambitious goal it proposes only voluntary emissions reductions, without any mechanisms for enforcing these commitments, or for penalising those countries that fail to meet their commitments.

It is the resistance of governments from Venezuela, Sudan and Bolivia that ultimately stops the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) from officially adopting the Accord. Instead, the text it is merely “taken note of” – as is the quality of the catering at the summit. The worst-case scenario feared by many in the movements and in critical NGOs, that a bad deal might be greenwashed, thus does not come to pass. Only the politically colour-blind could see the Accord as being genuinely green. The supposedly “last, best chance to save the planet” thus passes, after a two-week summit during which the prospect of the disappearance of entire island states under water and the evacuation of their populations had become a new normality that people accepted without flinching.

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Debating ecological debt

Towards a Jubilee South Platform on Climate Change, Ecological Debt and Financial Sovereignty
Jubilee South shares with you the electronic version of a document it has produced on the relation between climate change, finance and ecological debt and false solutions. We invite you to continue reflecting and contributing to this debate.

Climate debt owed to Africa: What to demand and how to collect?

By Patrick Bond

May 5, 2010 — The “climate debt” that the industries and over-consumers of the global North owe Africans and other victims of climate change not responsible for causing the problem has accrued by virtue of the North’s excessive dumping of greenhouse gas emissions into the collective environmental space. Damage is being accounted for, including the more constrained space the South has for emissions. This historical injustice – and “debt” — is now nearly universally acknowledged (aside from Washington holdouts), and reparations plus adaptation finance are being widely demanded.In Copenhagen, the 2009 United Nations summit on climate change witnessed a great deal of theatre over conceptual problems, including, who should make emissions cuts and to what degree; should markets be the main mechanism; who owes a climate debt; how much is owed; and how the debt should be collected. The willingness of African heads of state to raise the matter publicly beginning in mid-2009 was notable, but their inability to ensure political solidarity led to the imposition of the Copenhagen Accord on December 18, in a manner that sets back the cause.

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CJN! New Front Page

The new version of the CJN! website was published at the middle of April 2010 and we focused on the Cochabamba Conference (all the articles related on Cochabamba are available in the “events” section).

Now we are opening a new front page, with two columns: one for the latest news, the other for texts & analysis coming from movements and networks. We open this column with the Story of Cap and Trade!

The Story of Cap & Trade

The Story of Cap & Trade is a fast-paced, fact-filled look at the leading climate solution being discussed at Copenhagen and on Capitol Hill. Host Annie Leonard introduces the energy traders and Wall Street financiers at the heart of this scheme and reveals the “devils in the details” in current cap and trade proposals: free permits to big polluters, fake offsets and distraction from whats really required to tackle the climate crisis. If you’ve heard about Cap & Trade, but aren’t sure how it works (or who benefits), this is the film is for you.