On the vigil before its annual general meeting (AGM) which takes places between October 7-9, the World Bank has awarded the lowest score by development charity Christian Aid. The scorecard marks the climate impact of the world’s investment banks.
Coming in last place with an F, 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: “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.
“With one hand it finances some innovative clean energy access projects and warn of the dangers of climate change, yet with the other it spends millions on fossil fuel exploration and development which has 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.
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.”
She added: “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.
“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 although the investment banks have some good examples of backing renewable energy projects in the developing world, 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.
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .