World Bank’s fossil fuel spending outstrips renewable energy support

The World Bank Group has spent three times more on fossil fuel projects than it has on support for renewable energy during the past five years, a study has revealed. 

The findings from German NGO Urgewald show that the World Bank Group spent $21bn (£16bn) on coal, oil and gas between 2014 and 2018, compared with just $7bn on renewables.

The researchers did not include $7bn spent on large-scale hydropower because it is “often associated with significant social and environmental impacts”.

This comes after the bank in 2013 promised to stop providing financial aid for coal-fired plant projects. The study highlights how this is still done indirectly.

For example, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, a member of the World Bank Group, approved $783m for loans in 2016 to finance the transport of electricity from coal plants in South Africa. It was also found that the bank currently holds equity shares in at least 12 oil and gas exploration and production projects worth approximately $512m, and has supported operations in 10 countries that subsidise fossil fuels since 2014.

“The bank is getting around its no coal power plants pledge, undermining its own efforts for renewable energy sources as well as the Paris climate goals,” said report author Heike Mainhardt.

“It is a big disappointment to find that the World Bank Group continues to provide such vast amounts of public finance for fossil fuels.”


Image credit | iStock

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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