• Bruce Rich
  • Environmental Forum
  • May-June 2008
  • p. 24

The world’s richest nations are preparing to deliver as much as $12 billion in extra funds to the World Bank to fight global warming. At the same time, the bank is accelerating lending for fossil fuels and giant coal-fired power plants around the world. The bank’s schizophrenic approach reflects the political contradictions in the global politics of climate change....UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon declared at the Bali climate meeting last December that global warming is a “planetary emergency,” yet on April 8 the IFC (World Bank private sector finance affiliate International Finance Corporation) approved $450 million in loans to subsidize the construction by the Tata Power Corporation of the 4,000 megawatt Mundra coal-fired power plant in India’s Gujarat State. The giant coal plant would be India’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, but the bank argues that by sponsoring the project, it is fighting climate change — the bank claims that the plant will be more efficient than what otherwise would have been built. Indeed, the project will seek carbon credits from the Kyoto Clean Development Mechanism to further subsidize costs. The bank is also considering support through its risk insurance arm, MIGA (Multilateral Insurance Guarantee Agency) for a giant coal plant in Botswana that would produce 4,800 megawatts. Both plants would be bigger than any in North America and rank among the planet’s top 50 greenhouse sources.

Read full article (PDF)