The World Bank Group has announced that it will be taking a new, hard-lined approach to tackling climate change on a global scale and the World Bank will be spending 28% of the investments it receives on a variety of directly associated projects.
The World Bank Group is a development bank made up of five different international organisations including the World Bank dedicated to providing loans and capital support to developing countries.
The Bank Group will now be “ramping up action in renewable energy, sustainable cities, climate smart agriculture, green transport and other areas” in an effort to tackle what the Group’s vice president for sustainable development, Laura Tuck, identified as “the defining issue of our time”.
The Group’s president, Jim Yong Kim, said: “Following the Paris climate agreement, we must now take bold action to protect our plant for future generations.”
At the Paris summit, the role of the World Bank Group and other development banks was highlighted as crucial in terms of reflecting a global effort towards fighting climate change. This involved the pledging of some $100 billion collectively towards helping developing countries fight climate change, with the World Bank being figured as a ‘lynchpin’ in the overall plan.
Now, the Group has set out its official action plan.
Kim went on to say: “We are moving urgently to help countries make major transitions to increase sources of renewable energy, decrease high-carbon energy sources, develop green transport systems and build sustainable, liveable cities for growing urban populations. Developing countries want our help to implement their national climate plans, and we’ll do all we can to help them.”
Concrete steps set out by the Group include the provision of 30 gigawatts of new renewable energy, “adaptive social protection” being delivered to 50 million people and the development of “climate-smart agriculture investment plans for at least 40 countries” among other things.
The Group expects to “mobilize $25 billion in private financing for clean energy” and one of its member bodies, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will “lead on leveraging $13 billion a year in private sector investment”.
According to the Guardian, “at least $16 billion a year, from across the World Bank Group…will be directed to climate change projects”.
The Group also emphasised the need to protect against “climate shocks” and natural disasters, announcing “new efforts to expand early warning systems, climate-smart social protections, and urban and coastal resilience”.
In total, their disaster-protection efforts should benefit around 100 million people, and their efforts in promoting the generation of renewable energy should provide power for 150 million households.
All of this represents a drastic and positive turn in the World Bank Group’s methodology, according to John Roome, a senior director for climate change at the World Bank, one of the Group’s main subsidiaries.
“This is a fundamental shift for the World Bank. We are putting climate change into our DNA” he said, explaining that without intervention, “climate change will drive 100 million more people into poverty”.
Roome did not wholly rule out further investments in fossil fuel programs, something that the Bank came under criticism for last year when investment in such schemes increased despite the organisation calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies.
He mentioned the potential for fuels like natural gas to help developing countries transition to more widespread use of renewables, giving them more energy security in the meantime.