World Bank and climate change

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In an October 2007 speech to the National Press Club, the World Bank President, Robert Zoellick, stated that "we are working with our Board to significantly step up our assistance to the international efforts to address climate change. At our upcoming Annual Meetings and at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bali this December, I hope to outline a portfolio of ways the World Bank Group can help integrate the needs of development and low carbon growth. We need to focus particularly on the interests of developing countries, so that we can meet the challenge of climate change without slowing the growth that will help overcome poverty.[1]

But instead, the World Bank is increasing its financing of fossil-fuel projects world-wide. One example is the coal-powered Tata Ultra Mega power plant in western India, which is scheduled to go on-line 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 plant carries a $4.14 billion price tag. The World Bank will provide "$450 million in loans and guarantees for the project and also may buy a $50 million stake in it." While the U.S. is insisting that developing countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank -- over which it exerts tremendous pressure -- is supporting 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."[2]

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  1. Robert B. Zoellick, "An Inclusive & Sustainable Globalization", President of the World Bank Group, The National Press Club, Washington D.C., October 10, 2007.
  2. Christopher Swann, "World Bank increases fossil-fuel funding despite pledge", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,, August 24, 2008.

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