World Bank and coal
|This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of coal financing|
The World Bank Group, founded in 1944, is "one of the world's largest sources of development assistance. The Bank, which provided US$19.5 billion in loans to its client countries in fiscal year 2002, is now working in more than 100 developing economies, bringing a mix of finance and ideas to improve living standards and eliminate the worst forms of poverty. For each of its clients, the Bank works with government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and the private sector to formulate assistance strategies. Its country offices worldwide deliver the Bank's program in countries, liaise with government and civil society, and work to increase understanding of development issues.
"The World Bank is owned by more than 184 member countries whose views and interests are represented by a Board of Governors and a Washington-based Board of Directors. Member countries are shareholders who carry ultimate decision-making power in the World Bank.
"The Bank uses its financial resources, its highly trained staff, and its extensive knowledge base to individually help each developing country onto a path of stable, sustainable, and equitable growth. The main focus is on helping the poorest people and the poorest countries...."
From web site for the World Bank Group: http://www.worldbank.org/
Coal Project Plans
In 2007, World Bank President Robert Zoellick committed the lending institution to "significantly step up our assistance" to fight climate change through its loans. Instead, the World Bank increased its financing of fossil-fuel projects worldwide. One example is the coal-powered Tata Ultra Mega power plant in western India, a $4.14 billion project scheduled to go online in 2012. When it is fully operational, it will become one of the world's 50 largest greenhouse-gas emitters and "will emit more carbon dioxide annually than the nation of Tunisia," according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The World Bank decided to provide "$450 million in loans and guarantees for the project and also will buy a $50 million stake in it." At the same time the U.S. insisted that developing countries cut greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank -- over which it has tremendous influence -- supported projects that do the opposite. "The World Bank's lending record does not match up to Zoellick's rhetoric," says Heike Mainhardt-Gibbsof the Bank Information Center, a World Bank watchdog group. "The institution is simply not slowing down its significant funding to fossil-fuel projects that will emit greenhouse gases for 20 to 40 years."
In September 2010, the World Bank reported that US $3.4 billion ($3.6 billion) - or a quarter of all funding for energy projects - was spent from January to June 2010 helping build new coal-fired power stations, including the controversial Medupi Coal Plant in South Africa. This was record sums into coal by the World Bank, despite international commitments to slash the carbon emissions causing climate change. Over the same period the bank also spent US $1 billion on looking and drilling for oil and gas. The Bank Information Centre, which examined the spending, said the figure invested in coal was actually US $4.4 billion, due to the World Bank not including in its figure a US $1 billion project in India which is funding power transmission networks for coal-fired power stations rather than the stations themselves. Environmental campaign groups said spending on coal in that period was 40 times more than five years ago, and said there was an incoherence at the heart of the World Bank's thinking about energy that would damage long-term attempts to cut emissions of carbon.
2010 report finds WB oil/coal projects do not help poor
A 2010 report by Oil Change International, World Bank Group Energy Financing: Energy for the Poor? released on the eve of the World Bank's Annual Meetings, found that World Bank support for coal and oil projects does not increase access to energy for the world's poorest, a finding that stands in contrast to government, Bank, and industry claims that ongoing taxpayer support for these large coal and oil projects is necessary to alleviate energy poverty. The World Bank has used arguments around increasing energy access – providing energy to the 1.4 billion people who lack access to electricity or the 2.7 billion still using wood or biomass for cooking and heating – to justify the approval of massive new coal-fired power plants like the Eskom Plant in South Africa, as well as the continued funding of oil projects. But both Oil Change International's original research and the Bank's own analysis show that none of the Bank's coal or oil lending for the last two years have prioritized increasing energy access.
Elizabeth Bast of Oil Change International said: "Our analysis and the World Bank's are remarkably similar. Energy from the World Bank's coal and oil plants go to support big industry, not the world's poorest.... Not only do the poor suffer the climate impacts of increased fossil fuel emissions and impacts from local pollution, but they are also not receiving the energy from the same projects that damage their livelihoods. With so many in the world without energy, the World Bank must prioritize investments that ensure increased energy access for the poor instead of prioritizing fossil fuel projects for industrial use."
Some key findings from the report include:
- None of the 26 fossil fuel projects reviewed clearly identify access for the poor as a direct target of the project.
- The World Bank Group and the report authors agree that no coal or oil projects can be classified as improving energy access for the poor.
- In FY2009 and FY2010, funding for upstream fossil fuel projects and fossil fuel power plants dwarfed World Bank spending on access projects by 225 percent, or $7.2 billion compared to $3.2 billion for access (according to the Bank's own assessment, which Oil Change International notes includes two questionable gas projects).
World Bank plans to ban future loans to more than 80 nations for coal-fired power plants
In March 2011 it was reported that a new World Bank energy strategy was being developed with called for eliminating loans to build new coal-fired power plants in middle-income developing countries such India and South Africa over the next 10 years. A draft of the strategy obtained called for the bank to help nations identify alternatives to coal. It commits the bank to stop lending money for new coal projects in more than 80 countries with higher gross national incomes, or about half the world's population.
Under the proposed policy, the world's poorest countries could still receive loans for coal plants that meet certain criteria. The bank would also reserve the ability to support "brownfield" or existing coal plant sites in order to increase efficiency and after considering the greenhouse gas emissions over the ife of the plant.
Report finds World Bank did not consider externalities of Eskom Plant
A March 2011 report by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), “Fossilized Thinking: The World Bank, Eskom, and the Real Cost of Coal” examined the economics underlying the World Bank’s $3 billion loan for the Eskom plant, evaluating whether the Bank adequately considered the project's impacts on human health and the environment and the likely economic costs of these impacts. The Bank’s operational policies require that such externalities be taken into account to determine whether a project’s long-term economic benefits outweigh its costs.
CIEL’s analysis concluded that the Bank failed to adequately address and quantify important negative environmental effects, such as water scarcity and quality, air quality, and transboundary impacts. Nor did the Bank fully address the public health impacts associated with the environmental consequences of coal-based power. Steve Porter, Climate Program Director at CIEL, said: “This project highlights a broader problem in World Bank funding. Because all of the costs have not been accounted for, coal projects like Eskom have been unfairly favored, which means that there has never been a real consideration of alternatives, such as wind, solar and other alternative energy sources.”
The report was released as the World Bank conducts an Energy Strategy Review process, as well as a review of the Eskom project by the Bank’s Inspection Panel. CIEL’s report calls on The World Bank to consider the social and environmental impacts of Eskom, but the Inspection Panel is unlikely to issue its report before the conclusion of the Energy Strategy Review.
- Paul D. Wolfowitz President of the World Bank
- Sergio Jellinek World Bank Communications Advisor
- Kristalina Georgieva - Vice President
- Eija Pehu
- Global Alliance for Workers and Communities, a partnership comprising the World Bank, corporations, and the International Youth Foundation
- Christopher Swann, Bank increases fossil-fuel funding despite pledge Pittsburgh Tribune Review, August 24, 2008.
- Juliette Jowit, "World Bank spends billions on coal power" SMH, Sep. 17, 2010.
- "New Report: Despite Rhetoric, World Bank Fossil Fuel Projects Do Not Contribute to Energy Access" PR Newswire, Oct. 6, 2010.
- "World Bank plans to ban future loans to more than 80 nations for coal-fired power plants" Lisa Friedman, Climate Wire, March 30, 2011.
- free trade
- International Monetary Fund
- Imperial terror in South America
- Global insurgency for change
- World Bank and climate change
- Eugene Rotberg - former treasurer
- AIDS Campaign Team for Africa
- Kosovo and coal
- South Africa and coal
- India and coal
- Proposed coal plants in India
- Catherine Caufield, Masters of Illusion: The World Bank and the Poverty of Nations (Macmillan, 1997).
- Michael Goldman, Imperial Nature: The World Bank and Social Struggles for Social Justice in the Age of Globalization (Yale University Press, 2005).
- Bank Watch - The World Bank's Democratic Deficit
- Critiques of World Bank Policies in relation to Forest Peoples, Forest Peoples Programme
- World Bank Boycott, International Grassroots Campaign
- Debt Burden and World Bank
- Relationship of Fractional Reserve, Compound Interest Banking and Third World Debt
- Financial institute Wiki
- "World Bank Funnels Taxpayer Funds for Poverty Reduction to Halliburton and Big Oil," Institute for Policy Studies (Common Dreams), April 22, 2004.
- Emad Mekay, "Poorest Pay for World Bank Corruption - US Senator," Inter Press Service (Common Dreams), May 14, 2004.
- Chris Lang, "The carbon spin doctors: How the World Bank explains emissions trading to journalists", WRM Bulletin, Issue Number 84, July 2004.
- John Cavanagh, "Top 10 Reasons Why Paul Wolfowitz Would Make a Good World Bank President," Institute for Policy Studies (Common Dreams), March 4, 2005.
- David Corn, "Wolfowitz To Rule the World (Bank)," The Nation (Common Dreams), March 15, 2005.
- Adam Entous, "Bush Taps Hardliner Wolfowitz as New World Bank President," Reuters (Common Dreams), March 16, 2005.
- Jim Lobe, "Wolfowitz Pick for World Bank Prompts Head-Scratching," Inter Press Service (Common Dreams), March 17, 2005.
- Julian Borger, "Don't Deposit Wolfowitz with Us, Plead World Bank Workers," The Guardian (UK) (Common Dreams), March 19, 2005.
- Elizabeth Sullivan, "Now Wolfowitz is Laughing All the Way to the World Bank," Cleveland Plain Dealer (Common Dreams), March 20, 2005.
- Charlie Cray, "Wolfowitz and the World Bank: Democratizer or Kleptocrat?" Common Dreams, March 31, 2005.
- Abid Aslam, "Wolfowitz Approved as World Bank Chief; Groups Protest 'One-Horse Race'," OneWorld.net (Common Dreams), April 2, 2005.
- Njoki Njoroge Njehu and Leslie Cagan, "Wolfowitz’s Move to the World Bank Presidency and the Sharpening of Economic Policy as a Weapon of Mass Impoverishment," Common Dreams, May 31, 2005.
- Arthur MacEwan, "New Man at the World Bank," Common Dreams, June 8, 2005.
- Matthew Rothschild, "Bush Wants to Make IMF and World Bank Even Worse," The Progressive (Common Dreams), March 25, 2006.
- "Corruption Exposed At World Bank. GAP Again Calls for Adoption of Internal World Bank Whistleblower Plan After Four-Month US News & World Report Investigation Exposes Widespread Wrongdoing," Common Dreams, March 27, 2006. 
- Emad Mekay, "Wolfowitz Accused of Nepotism at World Bank," Inter Press Service (Common Dreams), April 6, 2007.
- Johann Hari, "The Real Scandal At The World Bank. The Bank is Killing Thousands of the Poorest People in The World," The Independent (UK) (Common Dreams), April 26, 2007.
- Naomi Klein, "Sacrificial Wolfie," The Nation (Common Dreams), April 27, 2007.
- Emad Mekay, "Charges of Dishonesty Fly at World Bank," Inter Press Service (Common Dreams), May 4, 2007.
- Thalif Deen, "Population Policy: NGOs Warn of World Bank 'Fundamentalists'," Inter Press Service (Common Dreams), May 8, 2007.
- Steven R. Weisman, "World Bank Panel Finds Wolfowitz at Fault; Aide Resigns," New York Times (Common Dreams), May 8, 2007.
- Emad Mekay, "Wolfowitz Scandal Spotlights US Reign at Bank," Inter Press Service (Common Dreams), May 16, 2007.
- "Tony Blair, Bill Frist Floated As Possible Wolfowitz Replacements At World Bank," Think Progress, May 18, 2007.
- "The World Bank's Climate Investment Funds," Greenpeace web page