Saturday, April 9, 2011

World Bank proposes to limit funding to coal plants

Recently the World bank has proposed a new initiative that would only allow them to give loans out for coal plants for the poorest countries. Furthermore, they can only use coal plants if they have tried to use other cleaner or renewable energy sources first. However, just last year the World Bank, despite heavy criticism, loaned South Africa 3.75 billion dollars for a brand new coal plant to help with an increasing energy crisis there. Steve Kretzmann from Oil change international was in favor of this new regulation and thinks it is a step in the right direction. Ultimately he believes all fossil fuel projects must stop. However, others aren’t as happy, Alison Doig believes that The World Bank is trying to “green-wash their activity” but are continuing to do business the same way. Projects like this one will increase climate change significantly and go against the World Bank’s goal to reduce emissions.
To me it seems like The World Bank is just trying to make up for the loan they gave to South Africa a year ago. Their new policy only would not restrict them from loaning money to poor nations which are mainly the one’s who need money for new infrastructure like coal mines. Ultimately it doesn’t seem like it will really affect how they are doing business right now, they are just trying to give the illusion that they are taking steps to try to support a less fossil fuel dependent world.
I believe that the World Bank should try to commit to making a greener world. I agree with Kretzmann in that I think all fossil fuels “should entirely be phased out.” However, I understand that the decision they made was probably based more on economics than the environment. Obviously coal and fossil fuels are cheaper to use than renewable energy sources right now and the World Bank’s first priority is to aid the poor. Although this may be the easiest and cheapest way to provide South Africa Energy I don’t think a quick fix like adding another coal plant is what will be best in the long run.
--Kyle Moore

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