May 28, 2010

World Bank urged to stop dirty business

by PhilLee — last modified May 28, 2010 12:30 PM

A meeting of the World Bank in Brussels on May 27 was targeted by campaigners who urged it to stop financing fossil fuel projects.

Brussels against WB and its lending to ESKOM-1Activists gathered outside the meeting at which bankers, EU officials, industry representatives and other stakeholders were discussing the future of the bank’s energy lending. They staged a peaceful 'black comedy' and handed out dirty contracts for so-called 'clean coal' to expose the disastrous impacts of the bank’s financing on climate change and the world’s poorest people. Civil society representatives later went inside to participate in the consultation.

The World Bank has ear-marked massive funds for investment in fossil fuels, especially large coal projects. Between 2007 and 2009, the World Bank increased funding for fossil fuels by 22%. Since 2007 the World Bank Group has provided $6.6 billion for coal-based energy development. This strategy locks developing countries into carbon intensive energy models for decades instead of helping developing countries to make the transition to sustainable energy production.

The latest illustration of the bank's climate-damaging lending is the Eskom project in South Africa, to which the World Bank approved a $3.75 billion loan in April. Most of the money will be used for the building of the Medupi power plant, one of the largest and dirtiest coal fired plants in the world. Over 165 civil society groups and some governments were opposed to the World Bank loan to Eskom, because of its disastrous environmental and climate impacts, and as it will mainly benefit large foreign multinational corporations to the detriment of South Africans, perpetuating a serious energy apartheid in the country.

Brussels against WB and its lending to ESKOM-2Anne-Sophie Simpère of Friends of the Earth France said:

"The World Bank should use its energy strategy review to stop financing fossil fuels and to redirect its investments to renewable energies and energy efficiency. The World Bank must make the needs of local communities and the global need to fight climate change paramount in its lending policy."

Similar demonstrations have taken place in South Africa and the United States.



further information

Read a full press release from Friends of the Earth Europe here
Read a report on the World Bank involvement with the South African energy company Eskom

May 06, 2010

tar sands undermine europe’s climate credentials

by PhilLee — last modified May 06, 2010 12:44 PM
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A new report warns that global development of tar sands will magnify the climate crisis and damage the EU’s environment and development objectives.

tar sands handPressure is on high-level representatives from the EU and Canada to discuss the issue of tar sands and Europe’s aim to limit greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels through its Fuel Quality Directive. Political attention currently focuses on Canada as the major producer of oil from tar sands, but the new report reveals that investment by European oil companies – such as BP, Shell, Total and ENI – is expanding with developments around the world including in the Republic of Congo, Venezuela, Madagascar, Russia, Jordan and Egypt, with potentially disastrous consequences for the climate and local communities.


Read the report here


Darek Urbaniak, extractives campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: 


“Europe risks becoming a climate villain if it does not take effective action to prevent the entry of oil from tar sands into European markets. The environmental damage caused by tar sands may be outside the EU, but the trail of destruction leads to its door.”


The report reveals that the current EU proposal for the implementation of the Fuel Quality Directive does not penalise oil products from high-carbon sources, treating oil produced from tar sands as conventional oil. This could allow an influx of oil from tar sands – heavily criticised for its poor environmental and social record – into Europe.


Paul de Clerck, economic justice campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: 


“The Fuel Quality Directive is supposed to benefit the climate, but the latest proposal from the European Commission leaves the European market wide open for energy-intensive fuels produced from tar sands. The EU should be a global standard-setter, and should refrain from giving political or financial assistance to tar sands projects, instead incentivising low carbon projects like renewables.”


The vast infrastructure and capital requirements of tar sands (estimated around US$ 379 billion in the next 15 years in Canada alone) would be better spent financing the shift towards a low-carbon economy, and on efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals, the report says.