After being called out for hypocrisy, the World Bank is working to redeem itself through massive investments in renewable energy. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group are holding their annual “Spring Meetings events” in Washington, DC, on April 12-17, 2016. It will be attended by thousands of government officials, journalists, civil society organizations, and participants from the academia and private sectors. The meetings will feature seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and many other events focused on the global economy, international development, and the world’s financial markets.
The World Bank has repeatedly warned of dramatic temperature increases and has called for bold action and countries to adopt aggressive targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions. In 2013 World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, pledged that the bank will do everything it can to address climate change. The bank has been looking at business through a “climate lens” he said and he further suggested that we include the cost of carbon in energy pricing (carbon pricing) and end fossil fuel subsidies.
While the bank supports renewable energy, they have been criticized for simultaneously supporting fossil fuels. Between 2008 and 2013 the bank provided US$18 billion, or almost half of its energy lending, for fossil fuels and coal in particular.
This is at odds with Jim Yong Kim Promise to factor in global warming “with every investment we make and every action we take.” In a Washing Post op-ed he warned that “we need to get serious fast” to avoid the looming “climate catastrophe.”
In the wake of this disconnect between word and deed the World Bank has decided to increase its spending on renewable energy in 2016. They are specifically planing to invest in enough renewable energy in developing countries to power 150 million homes.
As outlined by US News, these plans were released in 59-page climate action plan that outlines how these investments will help poorer nations to meet the goals set in the Paris climate accord.
The World Bank’s private-sector arm will increase its climate investments from $2.3 billion-a-year to $3.5 billion a year by 2020. The stated goal is to spur a $13 billion a year in private investments.
The bank also plans to help developing countries add 30 gigawatts of electricity to power 150 million homes without emissions of heat-trapping gases.
The World Bank Group said it spends about $10.3 billion a year on climate, which is slated to rise to $16 billion a year by 2020.
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