July 17 News: World Bank Won’t Finance Coal Plants Anymore Because Climate Change Hurts The Poor


In the same way President Obama announced the U.S. would not finance coal plants abroad unless there was no other option, the World Bank did the same thing yesterday. [Reuters]

The World Bank’s board on Tuesday agreed to a new energy strategy that will limit financing of coal-fired power plants to “rare circumstances,” as the Washington-based global development powerhouse seeks to address the impact of climate change.

The Bank will amend its lending policies for new coal-fired power projects, restricting financial support to countries that have “no feasible alternatives” to coal, as it seeks to balance environmental efforts with the energy needs of poor countries.

The impact of this energy strategy may not be seen immediately, since bilateral donors and the private sector will still continue to finance coal. Some analysts hope the new strategy could send a signal that coal is a risky investment and prompt countries to turn to alternative energy sources. …

Under World Bank President Jim Yong Kim – the first scientist to head the poverty-fighting institution – the bank has launched a more aggressive stance to spur action on climate change. Kim has said it is impossible to tackle poverty without dealing with the effects of a warmer world.

A heat wave has brought blazing temperatures to the northeast U.S., causing heat advisories to be issued in dozens of cities. [Reuters]

Major insurance company Swiss Re thinks flood insurance needs to be changed in order to better deal with major disasters like Hurricane Sandy. [Time]

Small towns are arguing that the need the revenue Keystone XL will bring for essentials like basic infrastructure, but critics say that money will dry up fast. [InsideClimate News]

China is moving to quickly develop seven new gas fields in the East China Sea, which could increase tensions with Japan, which shares a maritime border in the region. [Reuters]

Refinery receipts of crude oil continue to increase by barge, rail, and train — mostly to the Gulf region. [Today In Energy]

Oil sheens that have been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico are likely coming from Deepwater Horizon wreckage, according to a study. [AP]

Tens of thousands of dead eels have washed up on China’s shores, and though their cause of death is still unknown, a major Chinese oil company is suspect. [TreeHugger]

A wildfire west of Palm Springs, California has destroyed seven homes and threatens more. [USA Today]

As the ice shelves off Antarctica break up and melt, the marine ecology they once covered changes dramatically. [Climate News Network]

Russia has blocked a European proposal for what would have been the world’s largest marine sanctuary, largely because of the country’s commercial fishing interests. [Guardian]

A poll sponsored by a company, United Technologies, that supports the construction of Keystone XL pipeline found that a 67 percent of Americans support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. [National Journal]

A British company has developed a way to recycle disposable paper coffee cups by extracting the plastic materials from them. [Guardian

One would think that rooftop solar power in Arizona would be a no-brainer, but it is being fought fiercely by the coal-heavy utilities, who last week proposed a $50-100 fee for homes that produce their own power. [Vote Solar, Arizona Republic]

If you wanted to watch the construction of the Tesla Model S, here’s your chance. Hint: it involves 3,000 employees and 160 robots. [Gas 2]

18 Responses to July 17 News: World Bank Won’t Finance Coal Plants Anymore Because Climate Change Hurts The Poor

  1. Mark E says:

    Count me impressed with Obama when we stop leasing federal lands for coal mining

  2. BillD says:

    Having a scientist/MD/advocate for the poor as head of the World Bank, instead of an economist/banker is a game changer. Thank you President Obama for nominating Dr. Kim.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    And if we can’t stop it right away, how about charging them $30 a ton, instead of $2.

  4. Mike Roddy says:

    This is good news, and thank you to Dr. Kim. He might as well go all the way, though: there is always a feasible alternative to coal, no matter the location. Wind is blowing and sun is shining everywhere.

  5. Joan Savage says:

    The small island nation of Kiribati battles rising ocean levels, but that is not their only climate change threat. Kiribati now draws attention to the WHO report that links climate change and disease increase.

  6. Niall says:

    While I accept this is broadly good news, if hedged about with the “unless absolutely necessary” clause (we are yet to see what this means in practice), to describe the World Bank as a “poverty-fighting institution” is facile at best. Structural adjustment programs, anyone? You know, those policies designed to get the bank its loans back, and impose free trade in the interest of first-world lenders, no matter the impact on the poor?

    I’m going to treat this as greenwash until proven otherwise. The WB lost credibility in this area a long time ago, and it will take a long time for this institution to regain it. I remember fighting SAPs when I was at university.

  7. Jay Alt says:

    In the same way President Obama announced the U.S. would not finance coal plants abroad unless there was no other option, the World Bank did the same thing yesterday.

    Lets hope WB are alot quicker about it than the ‘environment friendly’ Obama Administration proved themselves to be. Here’s Barak’s pathetic record, up until this June.
    Bloomberg 6.26.13 –
    “Ex-Im Bank financing for fossil-fuel projects reached a record $9.6 billion in the 2012 fiscal year, almost double the 2011 total and five times the funding in the final year of the Bush administration, according to Ex-Im data compiled by the environment group Pacific Environment. In addition to coal plants, the lender supports oil-field exploration, pipelines, refineries and gas-fired power plants.”

  8. Sasparilla says:

    CIA funds study on Controlling Climate

    Gotta love it….looks like they are focusing on aerosol blocking of sunlight and CO2 removal from the atmosphere.

  9. fj says:

    Common wisdom is rapidly becoming that coal hurts people big time . . . and all fossil fuels.

  10. BobbyL says:

    Not sure why we are getting weather reports on this site. Is a heat wave in the Northeast in mid-July supposed to be climate news? When there is no heat wave in mid-July, that is news.

  11. Michael Pope says:

    Do you suppose that someone at the World Bank has read the article “Who Is Paying For Global Warming?” published by Skeptical Science in May, 2013 at

    The article draws attention to the fact that the World Bank Group is providing over $5 billion in loans and grants to less developed countries grants for building coal fired power stations. It notes that none of those power stations will be equipped with technology to effectively reduce CO2 emissions and that most will be adding pollution to the atmosphere for the next 40-50 years.

    The author notes that the World Bank is funded by governments which have committed to keeping global warming to less than 2ºC by 2100, yet is acting to increase carbon emissions to a level which prevents this and asks, Why?

    It is not enough for the World Bank to simply declare that it will no longer fund the building of coal fired power stations. What about the power stations it has already funded? Are these to go ahead and pollute the atmosphere, seriously undermining efforts to curb CO2 emissions? Or is this funding to be cancelled and only made available to governments willing to build power stations which do not pollute?

  12. Sasparilla says:

    Here! Here!

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Calling the World Bank a ‘poverty-fighting’ anything is an inversion of reality which would have Big Brother’s Ministry of Truth going green, green I tell you, with envy. I’m with you Niall. ‘Greenwash’ until proven otherwise, but, fingers crossed for a miracle.

  14. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    My God! A palpable ‘reality shock’, sir!

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The Right just love to control others, while they, of course, being ubermenschen, run out of control themselves. Controlling Nature on this planet is but the hors d’ouevre, before the main meal- Full Spectrum Dominance over the entire omniverse!

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The organs of the ‘Washington Consensus’, the IMF, WTO and World Bank are run by the West, still, despite efforts by the non-Western world to have some say. Thus the orgy of finance for fossil fuels is a quintessential Western project.

  17. Rose says:

    Me too!
    And I’m hoping a petition to stop using any tax money to fund fossil fuel and send those funds already allocated to clean energy and efficiency development instead, will help drive the point home to Congress. Please sign!

  18. Rose says:

    I’m all for it, but at least there’s a foot in the door! More than I expected. Now, let’s push it further!