Development charity Christian Aid has graded the World Bank ‘F’ as part of the climate impact of the world’s multilateral investment banks.
Coming in last place, the World Bank was criticised for spending more on fossil fuels than clean energy, for its continued funding for exploration of yet more fossil fuels and its lack of a clear strategy to transform its investments to support the UN Paris Agreement.
This is despite the fact that it makes very strong public pronouncements on the urgency of climate change as a global problem.
The scorecard is published in the report, Financing our Future, which also grades the Inter-American Bank (D), the Asia Development Bank (E) and the African Development Bank (E). Jointly, the four development banks have financed $17.5bn of clean energy in the past 5 years, but they also spent $18bn on fossil fuels in the same period.
The report author, Dr Alison Doig, Christian Aid’s Principal Climate Change Advisor, said: “The historic Paris Agreement showed world leaders are waking up to dangers of climate change and have committed to do something about it. The World Bank should be at the forefront of this global transition to a low-carbon world, yet its investments give a confused and contradictory picture.
“With one hand they finance some innovative clean energy access projects and warn of the dangers of climate change, yet with the other they spend millions on fossil fuel exploration and development which have little impact on poverty reduction. This is despite the International Energy Agency warning that no more than a third of proven reserves can be consumed prior to 2050 if we are to keep global temperature rise under 2 degrees.
“It’s clear that all these development banks need to clean up their act and to do it quickly, especially the World Bank, which is currently bottom of the class.
“If World Bank President Jim Yong Kim wants to be taken seriously as a champion of global development he must overhaul this two-faced investment policy and get serious about ensuring clean energy access in poor countries.”
She added: “Climate change is the greatest threat to development, so to have development banks investing in fossil fuels is deluded. Instead these banks need to play a catalytic role so that people living in poverty can access sustainable energy that meets their needs.”
The report shows that all the investment banks have good examples of backing renewable energy projects in the developing world, yet they all score disappointingly low on the clean energy scorecard. This assesses total spend on renewables verses fossil fuels, their policies on fossil fuel phase out, how supportive they are for clean energy access and the transparency on the carbon footprint of their investment and strategy to reduce it.
Dr Doig added that the UK Government had a key role to play in reforming the banks and encouraging them to get their act together.
She said: “The Department for International Development has taken positive steps, including its Energy Africa campaign which aims to extend the use of solar powered electricity to light up African homes and businesses. This 21st century energy supply is sustainable, affordable and reliable. It is exactly this kind of energy access initiative we need to see more of.
“We need the UK to knock heads together in the development community and ensure policies and investments which will deliver the Paris Agreement.”
The report concludes with three recommendations that would help make the development banks fit for purpose.
1. Ensure the carbon emissions of their funding portfolios is publicly available and set clear targets to reduce the carbon footprint of their investments and their exposure to climate risk
2. Support developing countries to achieve their greenhouse gas reduction commitments by phasing out financing for fossil fuels by 2020, and instead prioritising financial support for delivery of countries’ commitments under the Paris Agreement.
3. Support developing countries to achieve universal access to energy, giving greater priority to decentralised and off-grid renewable energy technologies.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”