World Bank Head Called Out for Inadequate Action on Climate Change

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  • 77 groups have sent a letter to World Bank Governors and Executive Directors calling for President David Malpass to be replaced for failing to take adequate action on climate change.
  • The groups also called on Executive Directors to establish stronger climate and social justice qualifications for management personnel responsible for the Bank’s climate and energy work.
  • The call comes during the 2021 Annual Meeting of the World Bank Group. 

“The World Bank has a long history of brushing up its green credentials and putting itself at the centre of climate finance while supporting the expansion of fossil fuel extraction and use, says David Hallowes, researcher for groundWork and the Life After Coal Campaign. In the face of intense opposition from environmental and social justice organisations in South Africa, it granted Eskom a massive loan to build the disastrous Medupi power station. It claimed the project would help alleviate poverty and help Eskom achieve financial stability and adopt a low-carbon trajectory. These justifications were always spurious. The Bank’s real purpose, then as now, was to sustain the extractive economic order,” says Hallowes.

Related news: the World Bank financed South Africa’s controversial 4764MW Medupi coal fired power station

Since the Paris Agreement, the World Bank has provided $12 billion in direct project finance to fossil fuels, more than any other multilateral development bank. The figure does not include billions more in support to fossil fuels through policy based lending and financial intermediaries.

In the letter, the groups also criticize the Word Bank‘s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) released this summer for allowing the bank to keep supporting fossil fuels for 2-4 more years.

In its recent “Net Zero by 2050“ report, the International Energy Agency called for the end to all new investments in fossil fuels. The United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative has determined that finance for fossil fuels as a means to provide energy access in developing countries should be terminated. [2] Yet, the World Bank is still triggering fossil-friendly policy reforms and providing technical assistance aimed at increasing fossil fuel investments in dozens of countries.

“In Mozambique, the World Bank works quietly behind the scenes to make it easy for the fossil fuel industry to enter and break down the economy, environment and communities of the country. Their role in perpetuating the ‘resource curse’ is not as visible as Total, ExxonMobil and other big companies, but it is how they lobby to change laws and processes to benefit the industry, and finance those changes to ensure they obtain the outcome they want, that makes them an invisible monster.” Anabela Lemos, Justiça Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique

The groups‘ letter to the World Bank is also part of a global protest rally called World Bank Action Day. It is a series of round the clock actions starting at noon in every time zone from Thursday, 14 October, to Friday, 15 October. More information about World Bank Action Day can be found here:

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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