World Bank energy strategy cuts financing to coal power

The World Bank has put forth a new energy strategy that involves limiting the financing of coal-fired power plants. The global financial group outlined its new strategy in an Energy Sector Directions Paper discussed by the Bank Group’s Executive Board on July 16.

In addressing the use of fossil fuels, the paper affirms the World Bank will “only in rare circumstances” provide financial support for new greenfield coal power generation projects, such as “meeting basic energy needs in countries with no feasible alternatives.”  The paper further highlights that the Bank Group will scale up its work helping countries develop national and regional markets for natural gas and increase its support for hydropower projects.

World Bank President Dr Jim Yong has been positioning himself as a leader in climate change since taking office last year. Under his guidance, the World Bank has commissioned two significant reports on the probable global impacts of climate change.

According to the World Bank, the new strategy sets a “principles-based course” for the organization’s work in the energy sector. The move is being said to mark a turning point for the Bank Group, which has long been criticized for its simultaneous call for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions while also funding the development of traditional coal power.

"The good news is that there are things we can do right now," said Kim in a statement. "[...] We think that we can provide funding and technical expertise so that every country in the world can have the energy they need to grow but grow in a sustainable fashion."

Read the Energy Sector Directions Paper here: Towards a Sustainable Energy Future for All (pdf)

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