Activists: World Bank unfit to manage climate funds 2008-12-09 20:53:40   Print

    by Wei Jianhua, Lin Xiaochun

    POZNAN, Poland, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- Waving banners reading "World Bank Out Of Climate," a dozen environmentalists lined up outside the main entrance to the UN climate talks Tuesday morning, protesting against any role for the bank in controlling climate change finance.

    "We are here to say 'no' to World Bank's role in fighting climate change, and we want to tell the delegates and the world that the bank has been financing activities leading to worsening climate change," a demonstrator told Xinhua.

    Handing out leaflets, the protestors from the non-governmental body Friends of the Earth were quoting World Bank figures as proof of its negative role in addressing climate change.

    An analysis by the Bank Information Center suggests that World Bank Group funding for renewable energy in 2008, excluding large hydropower projects and efficiency, dropped by 42 percent from 2007, while its lending to coal, oil and gas went up 94 percent in the same period.

    From 1997-2007, according to the World Wildlife Fund-UK, the World Bank has financed 26 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions --about 45 times the annual emissions of Britain.

    Meanwhile, more than 100 organizations fighting for climate justice have issued a joint statement rejecting the World Bank's role in controlling climate change finance.

    In the statement, World Bank is accused of undermining UN climate change negotiations by its current climate schemes.

    The bank has serious conflicts of interest with tackling climate change and it is unaccountable, said the statement.

    Inside the conference room as well, the role of the World Bank has been a topic of harsh dispute.

    Parties are discussing making the bank the trustee of the Adaptation Fund despite opposition from some developing countries.

    The Adaptation Fund, approved at the Bali talks last December, aims to help developing countries adapt to the impact of climate change and build low carbon economies.

    The joint statement calls for climate funds and their utilization to be fully accountable to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), a position supported by the G-77 bloc of developing countries.

    Karen Orenstein, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth U.S. International, said "the World Bank is not a credible institution to play any role in addressing the climate crisis."

    Though a decision to launch the fund is regarded as one of the possible outcomes of the Poznan climate talks, no substantial progress has been made on the subject during the past week.

Editor: Zheng E
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