Bill Clinton vs. The World Bank

The opening plenary was fascinating (video here). Clinton explained how CGI commitments had already avoided 20,000,000 tons of greenhouse gases. Then he tried to get Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank, to realize that the “Bank can show people options for sustainable development.”

Zoellick, however, was full of little more than platitudes, saying we need to address “questions of adaptation and mitigation,” and noting that there is a sensitivity in the developing world that climate change funds will come at the expense of development — totally missing Clinton’s point that green development is the only winning path (and Gore’s point that global warming, left unchecked, will negate all other efforts aimed at development).

Clinton, however, persisted, especially after H. Lee Scott, CEO of Wal-Mart touted his various successes:

Scott explained that they are on track to sell 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs, the equivalent of taking 700,000 cars off the road, and reducing packaging by 5%, the equivalent of taking 100,000 6-mpg diesel trucks off the road. As one small example of how they were working with suppliers, Scott talked about suggesting to General Mills they straighten the noodles in Hamburger Helper, which allowed a smaller package.

Clinton then came back, reiterated his point that the World Bank could play a key role in fostering sustainable development, adding, “if Wal-Mart makes profits reducing its carbon footprint, we need an institution that helps governments reach such conclusions on clean energy.”

But it was lost on Zoellick. As the media has reported, in 2006, investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency were only “20 percent of the Bank’s total energy sector commitments.” We’ll have to wait for a new U.S. president — and a new Bank president — for a real push for sustainable development.

5 Responses to Bill Clinton vs. The World Bank

  1. Paulina says:


    I was wondering if the CGI press release statement re 1Sky seems felicitous to you.

    Working with partners 1Sky will raise $50 million to advocate for a simple set of goals and policy proposals to improve the federal government’s policies on climate change. All partners working in this coalition are committed to making the US government develop climate change targets that match those of the European Union. The EU is committed to reduce green house gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels.

    This seems to be an odd way of putting it, since the purpose of 1Sky appears to be to cut through the confusion and delay and be very clear on what the goals are.

    1Sky’s goals for the US are very clearly stated (although some questions remain to be clarified; I’ll be happy to list those later).

    The CGI press release is missing a critical number, namely the *time-frame* for the reductions!

    It’s 20% compared to 1990 levels, BY 2020!!!

    AKA, for the US, 30% by 2020, compared to current levels. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)


  2. Aleithia says:

    Big Developers are losing sleep at night worrying that “climate change funds will come at the expense of development.”

    Oh, boo hoo hoo.

    These people run on the assumption that they can get away with a tangled web of predatory lending, corrupting government officials, destroying lives, property, and the environment, war-mongering, and endless, endless expansion, growth, and – that pervasive term, “development.” Read, “Confessions of an Economic Hitman,” to get the gist.

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that ENDLESS expansion – – – can’t be done. Their goal is shortsighted, to understate it.

    They should be jailed, and made to pay for their mass genocides and other crimes. And most importantly, they should CLEAN UP THEIR MESS. Undo all that growth and “development” they’ve been guilty of, in the past.

  3. David B. Benson says:

    It certainly appears that the World Bank is sooo 20th century and ought to go the way of the dinosaurs…

  4. Olin C. says:

    Dear Aleitha,

    I think I’m in love! What are you doing for dinner? :)

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