9 APRIL 2014

Elizabeth Bast, ebast [at] priceofoil [dot] org

New Analysis: World Bank financed $1 billion in fossil fuel exploration projects
Over $3 billion in exploration projects since 2008

New analysis released today by Oil Change International finds that World Bank Group finance for projects that included exploration for new fossil fuel resources reached a new high in FY2013, at nearly $1 billion out of the $2.7 billion spent in total for fossil fuel projects.

This analysis comes on the heels of reports from scientific bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency that suggest the world has far greater reserves of fossil fuels already than can be burned while staying within agreed climate limits.

“The World Bank itself has laid out a stark picture of what a world with four degrees of warming looks like, yet it continues to pump billions into projects exploring for new fossil fuel resources that must not be burned in any reasonably safe climate scenario,” said Elizabeth Bast, Managing Director of Oil Change International and co-author of today’s analysis.

While overall financing of fossil fuel projects at the World Bank has gone down in recent years, support for projects that include exploration for fossil fuels has continued to rise. The major multilateral development banks financed over $4.5 billion in projects that include exploration activities between 2008 and 2013, with the International Finance Corporation alone supporting $2.3 billion.

The analysis finds that expanding fossil fuel reserves does even more damage than putting the global climate in danger; exploration financing by the World Bank risks locking developing countries into loan commitments for resources that will likely become stranded assets if policies are implemented to meet agreed climate goals.

“To truly protect the poor, the World Bank must end all lending for fossil fuel exploration aimed at expanding carbon reserves that already exceed our climate’s capacity. Developing countries can’t afford to be locked into financing schemes for stranded assets, just as they can’t afford the devastating impacts of climate change these new fossil fuels will exacerbate,” Bast said.

The analysis can be found here: