World Bank and Coal

An investigation by the Inclusive Development International organization reveals that the World Bank has continued funding coal mining projects in Asia three years after issuing a statement against such projects and announcing a moratorium on their investment. The World Bank invests through its International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is currently funding at least 41 coal projects and 50 other environmentally harmful projects across the world. The first report in their series has been released in the first days of October, with more to be released in the coming months.

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Between 2011 and 2015, the IFC funded $40 billion for coal projects globally. In the Philippines, for instance, the IFC has given worked with two banks, Rizal (which has been recently fined for “one of the largest bank heists in modern history”) and BDO Unibank (who received backlash for an advertisement which drew a line between environmental activism and saving money to travel). These banks have used the IFC money to open 20 coal power plants, driving climate change from within the quite vulnerable archipelago nation. In Bangladesh, the IFC has invested in the proposed Rampal coal power plant. The Rampal facility would cover nearly 2000 acres and be constructed in close proximity to the largest mangrove forest in the world, the Sundarbans.

These World Bank projects are harmful not only because they maintain the global coal industry in the era of climate change and thorough understanding of greenhouse gas emissions – and while the group’s President warns of “disaster” if coal power continues. Additionally, these projects contribute to deforestation, displacement of people from their homes, and pollution of the air and water. It is strange that the World Bank would announce a moratorium without changing any of their practices, but if they hope to alleviate poverty through sustainable development then they will have to change their ways or face protests and vocal opposition to their work.

The report can be found here: “Disaster for Us and the Planet”: How the IFC Is Quietly Funding a Coal Boom“.  More work related to marginalized communities affected by development can be found here on the Inclusive Development International website.

An 80 foot coal seam at the North Antelope Rochelle opencut coal mine. Photo: Peabody Energy, 2014.

An 80 foot coal seam at the North Antelope Rochelle opencut coal mine. Photo: Peabody Energy, 2014.

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