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13 de junio de 2011 | | |

Strong Figures

Friends of the Earth launches new report: the World Bank catalyzes climate change

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In 2010 the Bank hit a new record in terms of its fossil fuel funding, totaling US$6.6 billion, a 116% increase over 2009. US$4.4 billion of this total was invested in coal, also a record high, and a 356% increase over the previous year.

These numbers are included in a new report launched by Friends of the Earth on Saturday in Bonn, Germany, at the new round of UN international negotiations on climate change (June 6-17). The report is called “World Bank: Catalysing Catastrophic Climate Change” * and was launched by the federation at one of the activities parallel to the negotiations. Real World Radio is in Bonn covering all events.

The World Bank is positioning itself at international level as one of the key actors in “climate finance”. In fact, at the latest UN Conference of the Parties (COP16) on climate change that took place in Cancun (Mexico) in December the parties agreed on the creation of a Green Climate Fund and the World Bank was named interim trustee. The institution is also looking to have a leading role in REDD mechanisms.

Several social movements and organizations from the five continents have opposed the World Bank controlling climate change adaptation and mitigation funds.

The report shows how the Bank has been increasing its investments in fossil fuels and promoting corporate-led false solutions to climate change, including carbon trading, that allow rich countries to avoid their emission reduction obligations. At the same time, the international financial institution continues to support big hydroelectric dams despite their serious environmental and social impacts.

“The World Bank is part of the climate problem, not the climate solution,” said Sebastian Valdomir, Economic Justice Program coordinator of Friends of the Earth International, in a press release issued on Saturday by the environmentalist federation. "Its appalling social and environmental track record should immediately disqualify it from playing any role whatsoever in designing the Green Climate Fund, and in climate finance more generally”, added Valdomir.

In April 2008, the World Bank’s private lending arm, the IFC, approved investment of US$450 million for the Tata Mundra 4,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Gujarat, India, which is expected to emit an estimated 25.7 million tons of CO2 annually for at least 25 years, according to the new report.

Meanwhile, in 2010, the World Bank also approved a massive US$3.75 billion loan, the overwhelming majority of which will finance the 4,800 megawatt Medupi coal-fired power plant being built by Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned power utility, in Lephalale, Limpopo province. Medupi will also emit approximately 25 million tons of CO2 annually. The loan will lead to 40 new coalmines opening up to feed the Medupi plant and related projects. South Africa is currently responsible for 40% of all of Africa’s greenhouse gas emissions, and this loan will add to these emissions, according to information provided by GroundWork-Friends of the Earth South Africa.

“The World Bank claims to provide leadership on climate change but, as shown in this report, it is a major funder of dirty fossil fuel projects, carbon trading and mega dams”, said Kate Horner, policy analyst at Friends of the Earth United States. “These initiatives deepen poverty and push us closer to the brink of a global environmental disaster”, she added.

Friends of the Earth International calls for climate finance that is derived from assessed budgetary contributions and other non-market-based innovative sources. They recommend, for instance, financial transaction taxes to obtain funds for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and call rich countries to contribute the most, due to their disproportionate role in creating the problem of climate change.

* Report available here.

Photo: http://kairoscanada.org

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