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By Laura Beans
After releasing the report Turn Down the Heat: Climate Extremes, Regional Impacts, and the Case for Resilience last month, the World Bank called for bold action from countries worldwide to adopt strict regulations and aggressive targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid serious increases in global temperature.
Following the report, the World Bank President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, pledged that the bank would step up its climate efforts as it looks at its own business through a “climate lens.”
Despite a few efforts to embrace and promote renewable energy, in the past five years, the World Bank Group financed fossil fuels in loans and contributions by a total of US $18 billion—nearly half of its energy lending.
On Tuesday, the World Bank announced its support for universal access to "reliable modern energy" and that it would limit the financing of coal-fired power plants to "rare circumstances" in an effort to address climate change concerns.
But, a recent article from Oil Change International (OCI) begs to differ. OCI says the increased emphasis on natural gas and large hydropower as a substitute for coal is likely to undermine the stated objective of increasing energy access for the poor—though a welcome ambition, less than 10 percent of the World Bank Group's energy projects from 2008 to 2012 increased energy access for undeveloped countries.
With the priority of increasing energy access worldwide, the decisions that will be made on the financing of future projects will be telling.
The Bank's strategy is clear about its intent to increase funding for natural gas production and large-scale hydropower generation, writes Elizabeth Bast of OCI. This would commit the Bank to a continued course of large, centralized power projects that are not going to solve the climate crisis, nor are they likely to be effective in supporting energy access for the poor, as large-scale fossil fuel and hydroelectric dam projects are not the answer for energy poverty, as electricity from these installations rarely reaches the poor.
Tackling climate change will take much more than a divestment from coal powered operations. Late last year, the International Energy Agency reported that two-thirds of all proven fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground if the world is serious about avoiding dangerous climate change, red-flagging a dire need to invest in renewable energy sources.
“Although this is a critical step forward, we would like to see the World Bank go further," said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate and energy program at the World Resources Institute. "Evaluations of the economic, social and environmental impacts of all projects should take into account the full range of long-term risks and uncertainties, including the cost of greenhouse gas emissions, water availability and other impacts."
"In addition, the Bank should set itself ambitious goals on the amount of clean energy and energy efficiency financing it provides to demonstrate the viability of these investments," Morgan concluded.
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By Emily Deanne
Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.
By Lorraine Chow
Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.
States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Kristin Ohlson
From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.
Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.
It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."