As part of the One Planet summit and in a landmark decision to encourage a shift to renewable energy sources, the World Bank has announced that it will “no longer finance upstream oil and gas after 2019.”
The bank provides financial and technical support to developing countries but has drawn a new line in the sand over oil and gas development projects as its president addressed the One Planet climate change summi, pulled together by France’s president Macron, the president of the World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim, and United Nations Secretary-General, Portugal’s former PM, António Guterres.
Aware of the internationally agreed CO2 emission reduction targets, the World Bank’s objective in halting its financing of oil and gas exploration and extraction is to help countries meet their emissions pledges made at the 2015 Paris climate conference.
The bank announced it would be logging and reporting on CO2 emissions from its current energy investment projects, as from 2018. It is also is on track to meet its target of 28% of its lending going to climate action by 2020 and to meeting the goals of its climate action plan developed as a result of the Paris agreement.
Oil Change International stated that public finance institutions controlled by G20 governments, along with development banks such as the World Bank Group, provide $71.8 billion per year in public finance for fossil fuels, and only $18.7 billion in public finance for renewable energy development.
Stephen Kretzmann, the executive director of Oil Change International, praised the World Bank’s latest announcement,
“It is hard to overstate the significance of this historic announcement by the World Bank. Environmental, human rights, and development campaigners have been amplifying the voices of frontline communities for decades in calling for an end to World Bank financing of upstream oil and gas projects. Today the World Bank has raised the bar for climate leadership by recognising the simple yet inconvenient truth that achieving the Paris Agreement’s climate goals requires an end to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.”
Alex Doukas, Stop Funding Fossils programme director at Oil Change International, called on other finance institutions to follow the World Bank’s lead and to stop funding fossil fuels.
“It is important to note that midstream and downstream oil and gas finance are also major contributors to climate change, and must be addressed to remain within the climate limits established by the Paris Agreement,” Doukas said.
The One Planet Summit conference, held on the second anniversary of the Paris climate agreement, focused on how those working in public and private finance can help the fight against global warming.
Portugal’s government continues to promote its oil and gas exploration and extraction agenda despite firece opposition from environmentalists and despite its signature on the Paris CO2 reduction agreement. By covertly facilitating and encouraging oil and gas concession holders for onshore and offshore development, in the vain hope of untold riches flowing into the treasury to end the nation’s financial instability, the government has shown itself to be naïve and greedy in equal measure while working against its CO2 reduction targets.
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