World Bank indirectly funding ‘coal boom’ in Asia – report


A development advocacy group said that the World Bank is indirectly financing a boom in some of Asia’s dirtiest coal-fired generation plants despite ending commitments to the sector, an Agence France Press report said.

A report from the Inclusive Development International said that these power plants crop up from Bangladesh to the Philippines, all of which have financial intermediaries supported by the Bank.

41 coal projects have received funding from banks and investment funds supported by The International Finance Corp., World Bank’s private-sector arm since 2011, the report said.

In 2011, the bank said that they would end virtually all support for the creation of coal – burning power plants, saying that they would only support them in ‘rare circumstances’ where there are no viable alternatives.

Frederick Jones, IFC spokesperson told the AFP that the World Bank is taking the report seriously.

“It raises important long-term questions about how we need to create stronger markets for clean energy and create incentives for countries and the private sector not to invest in coal, but rather in renewable energy,” he said.

Since 2005, the IFC has invested over $15 billion on renewable energy, energy efficiency and other areas, Jones added.

However, he said that the IFC policy doesn’t prohibit equity clients from funding coal plants. This means that the institution might be indirectly exposed to the industry.

This is despite the fact that IFC loans to financial services industry players “are not intended to finance coal-related projects and targeted lending is “ring-fenced” to prevent this,” Jones said.