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World Bank will end financial support to oil and gas projects

Written by Sara Giordano

World Bank pledges to stop financing upstream oil and gas after 2019 

“To align its support to countries to meet their Paris goals, the World Bank Group (WBG) will no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019”, it said in a press release (Reuters, The Guardian, The Telegraph, 12 Dec). “As a global multilateral development institution, the WBG is continuing to transform its own operations in recognition of a rapidly changing world,” it added. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will also invest up to $325 million in the Green Cornerstone Bond Fund, a partnership with Amundi, to create the largest ever green-bond fund dedicated to emerging markets. The WBG is also on track to meet its target of 28% of its lending going to climate action by 2020 and the goals of its Climate Change Action Plan - developed following the Paris Agreement. In terms of disclosure, from 2018, the bank will report greenhouse gas emissions from the investment projects it finances in key emissions-producing sectors and will be applying a shadow price on carbon in the economic analysis of all IBRD/IDA projects in key high-emitting sectors where design has begun since July 2017.Add paragraph text here.

Private sector joins coal phase-out alliance

The Powering Past Coal Alliance expanded to 58 members: this time, the partnership, launched by the UK and Canada governments at COP23 in Bonn, brought together 34 countries/states and 24 international companies, all united in taking action to accelerate clean growth and climate protection through the rapid phase-out of traditional coal power (Reuters, Market Insider, BusinessGreen, 12 Dec). Joining the Alliance, were, among others, Sweden and the State of California. From the business side, major utilities and investors as well as significant electricity consumers participated. These include: Storebrand, EDF, Engie, and Iberdrola, Virgin Group, Unilever, Marks and Spencer.

"Phasing out coal power is the right choice for the planet and our kids. I'm thrilled to see so many business leaders commit today to moving away from a source of power that is choking cities and causing close to a million premature deaths per year. The market has moved on, and coal is not coming back", said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Canada.

According to the declaration (here and here in pdf), coal-fired power plants produce almost 40% of global electricity, making carbon pollution from coal a leading contributor to climate change. To support these goals, the members of the Powering Past Coal Alliance will work together to share real-world examples and best practices to support the phase-out of coal, including through climate financing, and to adopt practical initiatives to support this transition, including developing clean energy plans and targets. Specifically, government partners commit to phasing out existing traditional coal power in their jurisdictions, and to a moratorium on any new traditional coal power stations without operational carbon capture and storage within their jurisdictions. Business and other non-government partners commit to powering their operations without coal.

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