Oil Change International released a report today at the World Bank Annual Meetings in Singapore calling on the World Bank to stop using aid money to subsidize the expansion of the international oil industry – what we call “End Oil Aid”. Read the Reuters story here.
The report, produced in cooperation with a number of partner organizations, is a response to World Bank’s proposed Clean Energy and Investment Framework. The Bank is trying to increase its involvement in the fight against climate change but it is floundering in the contradictions of its own energy policy and it is proposing solutions that fail to focus on overcoming energy poverty for the world’s poorest people. Instead, many of the Bank’s proposals are essentially “business as usual”, which means more support for large hydro power and conventional energy. They also want to increase support for “clean” coal and they completely ignore the fact that the Bank and other international financial institutions are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into some of the most profitable oil companies in the world.
In general it is a good thing that the Bank is finally acknowledging that climate change is harming the world’s most impoverished countries. Civil society organizations have fought for this recognition for a long time and it would be great to see more aid money put into promoting new renewables and energy efficiency to help countries transition away from their dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. Unfortunately, the Bank is still suffering under the illusion that it can actively subsidize fossil fuels and effectively fight climate change at the same time!
We are saying that aid budgets should go to investments that will help lay the groundwork for the development of meaningful alternatives to our addiction to oil and other fossil fuels, rather than propping up the fossil fuel industry.