The World Bank has unveiled a new project to promote the use of clean energy in developing countries, where it argues that up to 40 billion dollars a year is needed to cover the costs of adapting to projected climate change.

But as usual with the Bank, nothing is as good as it seems. Although the Bank’s policymaking Development Committee approved the measure it provided no details on how much money it would take to implement it.

It has also provoked criticism.  Chairman of the Development Committee, Colombian Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla, said some of his colleagues — whom he did not name — “find the (project) to be biased toward the development of alternative, renewable sources of energy not yet commercially viable while neglecting the bigger picture of aiming for cleaner, more efficient traditional energy sources.”

Dutch Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne noted that the project principally targets middle-income countries where there is a potential market for the development of clean energy. Her German colleague, Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, called for the creation of a fund at the African Development Bank to which oil producers would contribute for the promotion of renewable power sources in African countries.

Oil paying for renewables would be a novel idea. It should also happen here, but I bet it won’t happen.