Making the Clean Tech Fund Clean

The World Bank has officially approved two climate investment funds — a Clean Technology Fund and a Strategic Climate Fund. The UK, U.S., and Japan have already said they’ll give money to the Clean Tech Fund, which is expected to be worth about $5 billion.

The Bank’s approved the funds one week before the G-8 conference where climate change is going to be a dominant issue for discussions. I’m not sure that this approval will change the conversations much or instigate any further donation or action, but, it’s a step.

Though maybe not the best one. Climate Progress previously covered the testimony of David Wheeler, from the Center for Global Development, on the creation of the Clean Tech Fund and its being housed by the World Bank. According to Wheeler, the Bank has major changes it needs to make into how it would manage qualifying projects (indeed, all its projects), including integrating carbon accounting into the decision-making process (i.e. calculate emissions).

Accompany Wheeler before the House in June was also Jacob Werksman from the World Resources Institute. Werksman was there to report the findings of the WRI report “Correcting the World’s Greatest Market Failure: Climate Change and the Multinational Development Banks.” The report found that less than 20% of the Bank’s activity in the energy sector took climate change into consideration.


Both Wheeler and WRI’s messages should be taken very seriously. The World Bank may be an opportune place to channel clean technology and development funds, but in its current state, it is not ideal.

Past meetings of the G-8 on climate change (2005 in Gleneagles) have emphasized the potentially catalytic role that multinational development banks can play. However, next week, the G-8 members should discuss conditions for its clean tech funds and take the chance to reflect on the effectiveness of the World Bank considering climate change. The goal here is to throw money at deploying clean technologies, not just to throw money to a program with a good title.

The World Bank needs to be held accountable for its carbon footprint, just like any other major international player.

— Kari M.