April 17, 2015

Elizabeth Bast, ebast [at] priceofoil [dot] org
David Turnbull, david [at] priceofoil [dot] org

Analysis: World Bank Group increases spending on fossil fuels

New analysis released today by Oil Change International shows that, despite repeated calls for urgent action on climate change, the World Bank Group increased funding for fossil fuels in its last fiscal year. This increase comes during the first full fiscal year following the World Bank’s announced commitment to limit coal financing due to climate concerns.

The review, entitled “Still Funding Fossils: World Bank Group Energy Finance FY2014,” shows that The World Bank Group increased its support for oil, gas, and coal in FY 2014 over previous years, to a total of $3.3 billion USD or 34% of its total energy finance spending for the year.

In addition, the analysis shows that World Bank Group continues to fund projects with fossil fuel exploration components, when science now says we need to keep more than two-thirds of fossil fuels in the ground. Further, some finance still went to coal, despite the pledge to end coal financing except in extreme circumstances.

“The World Bank has made some important statements on climate change and energy access, but our analysis shows they still need to do more to put their money where their mouth is,” said Elizabeth Bast, Managing Director of Oil Change International. “It’s time the Bank backed up rhetoric with real action to end fossil fuel financing and focus on truly sustainable energy access projects that can help the poor while also addressing climate change.”

Financing for energy access increased somewhat over previous years, with 13 percent of energy financing in FY 2014 going to projects that target increased energy access for the poor. Fossil fuels and large hydropower accounted for only 4 percent of financing targeted specifically at energy access, showing again that investing in large, conventional energy projects is not an effective way to increase energy access.

“The World Bank’s energy finance practices continue to fall short of the Bank’s own goals of reducing poverty and tackling climate change. The World Bank needs to urgently restructure its energy portfolio to stop funding fossils and to prioritize clean renewable energy and energy access,” Bast said.

Read the analysis here:  and initial reporting from The Guardian here: