Washington, DC — This years’ World Bank Spring meetings faced extra scrutiny following the surprise early resignation of World Bank Group (WBG) President David Malpass and expected appointment of Biden Administration nominee and former CEO of Mastercard Ajay Banga as his replacement through the widely criticized “gentleman’s agreement.” There have been few concrete developments in high-profile proposals to increase the Bank’s financing capacity or including the G7+ led ‘evolution roadmap.’ A new Paris Alignment ‘sector note on energy and extractives’ keeps all existing pathways for WBG fossil gas support open.
On fossil fuel finance and the evolution roadmap, Dean Bhekumuzi Bhebhe, Campaigner with Powershift Africa said:
“The World Bank Group (WBG) once again failed to make serious commitments to stop its support for fossil fuels. In 2022 the WBG still provided almost a billion dollars in public finance to support climate-wrecking fossil fuels, on top of ‘indirect’ support like its development policy finance that has a record of locking recipient countries into expensive and volatile fossil fuel contracts and subsidy regimes. We cannot afford for this to continue, especially as the evolution roadmap and other proposals to increase WBG’s overall lending capacity continue to be discussed. Giving the Bank more power and money will just result in more fossil fuels, more debt, and more inequality unless the institution is forced to first change its ways.”
On expectations for incoming President Ajay Banga, Bronwen Tucker, Public Finance Campaign Manager with Oil Change International said:
“We need concrete commitments from Banga to push the Bank to stop funding all fossil fuels, pass democratic voting reforms, and pursue serious debt cancellation, not just the lip service we are seeing so far. There is unfortunately little in Banga’s long career at predatory banks and corporations, with no experience in development, environment, or the public sector, to suggest he is interested in transforming the World Bank Group into an institution that can work for people and the planet. If the Bank is allowed to fade out of the spotlight just because Malpass is gone, we are doomed to five more years of Bank-fuelled fossils, debt, and inequality.”
On the new Paris Alignment “Sector Note” on Energy and Extractives, Claire O’Manique, Research Analyst with Oil Change International said:
“Instead of adding much-needed fossil gas restrictions, the World Bank Group (WBG)’s new Paris Alignment Sector Note on Energy and Extractives just adds elaborate excuses to justify keeping their fossil gas funding as-is. The WBG will add a ‘least cost analysis’ to compare fossil gas power to renewable alternatives, but not at the sub-institutions that fund the majority of these projects (IFC and MIGA). They will continue to fund fossil gas pipelines with blind faith that they will be one day possible to decarbonize. They will continue to subsidize fossil fuel companies to reduce their emissions, instead of getting companies to pay their fair share. If the World Bank Group continues with business as usual policies like this, we will never meet the necessary climate goals to protect people and planet.”
On direct and indirect fossil fuel finance, Andri Prasetiyo, Energy Policy and Finance Researcher with Trend Asia said:
“The World Bank Group’s new President must prioritize urgently redirecting direct and indirect finance away from fossil gas, even in developing countries such as Indonesia, and align both private investment and public policy with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to below 1.5C. Continuing to finance gas is tantamount to climate denial. The idea of fossil gas as a bridging fuel from coal to renewable energy is a fallacy that hinders the transition to clean and renewable energy sources, such as local, sustainable, and renewable energy.”
- New data on WBG and other MDBs’ fossil fuel finance can be found here.
- More information can be found in this media backgrounder on the meetings from Big Shift Global, a coalition of 55 groups calling on the world’s Multilateral Development Banks to stop funding fossils and support a globally just energy transition instead.