One Planet Summit: World Bank to Stop Financing Oil, Gas Projects
In effort to bolster a global shift to clean energy, the World Bank—which provides financial, advisory and technical support to developing countries—announced it will “no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019."
The announcement was made Tuesday at the international One Planet climate summit called by French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.
The World Bank's plan to stop financing oil and gas exploration and extraction is aimed at helping countries meet their emissions reduction pledges made at the 2015 Paris climate talks.
The bank noted in a statement that "in exceptional circumstances, consideration will be given to financing upstream gas in the poorest countries where there is a clear benefit in terms of energy access for the poor and the project fits within the countries' Paris Agreement commitments."
The bank announced other measures that include reporting greenhouse gas emissions from the investment projects it finances in key emissions-producing sectors, such as energy, starting next year. It is also on track to meet its target of 28 percent of its lending going to climate action by 2020 and to meeting the goals of its Climate Change Action Plan that was developed after the Paris accord.
To align our support to countries seeking to meet their Paris Agreement goals, we announced today that we will no l… https://t.co/D7kWudWzxE— Archive: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim (@Archive: World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim)1513088361.0
Oil Change International recently released its Dirty Dozen briefing on how public finance drives the climate crisis through oil, gas, and coal expansion. According to the group, on average, public finance institutions controlled by G20 governments, along with multilateral development banks such as the World Bank Group, provide $71.8 billion per year in public finance for fossil fuels, and only $18.7 billion in public finance for clean energy.
Stephen Kretzmann, the executive director of Oil Change International, praised the World Bank's latest announcement.
“It is hard to overstate the significance of this historic announcement by the World Bank. Environmental, human rights, and development campaigners have been amplifying the voices of frontline communities for decades in calling for an end to World Bank financing of upstream oil and gas projects," Kretzmann said.
“Today the World Bank has raised the bar for climate leadership by recognizing the simple yet inconvenient truth that achieving the Paris Agreement's climate goals requires an end to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry."
Countries that lead shift away from fossil fuels will reap the greatest economic & environmental benefits for this… https://t.co/tuck7AFanM— UN Environment Programme (@UN Environment Programme)1513082711.0
Alex Doukas, Stop Funding Fossils program director at Oil Change International, called on other finance institutions to follow the World Bank's lead and move to stop funding fossil fuels.
“It is important to note that midstream and downstream oil and gas finance are also major contributors to climate change, and must be addressed to remain within the climate limits established by the Paris Agreement," Doukas said.
World leaders, celebrities and other high-profile figures descended at the One Planet Summit in Paris on Tuesday.
The conference, held on the second anniversary of the landmark Paris climate agreement, is focused on how those working in public and private finance can help the fight against global warming.
Notably, President Donald Trump—who intends to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement—was not invited to the meeting.
As DW reported, United Nations climate change envoy and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said during the summit that Trump's decision to exit the Paris accord was a "rallying cry" for environmentalists. Bloomberg promised U.S. cities, regions and companies would ensure the country met its carbon reduction goals.
Tonight, we’re joined by world leaders committed to taking collective action on climate change ahead of the… https://t.co/lmCLygUG1n— Mike Bloomberg (@Mike Bloomberg)1513033965.0
Former California governor and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger had similar sentiments.
"It doesn't matter that Donald Trump backed out of the Paris Agreement, because the private sector didn't drop out, the public sector didn't drop out, universities didn't drop out, no one dropped out," Schwarzenegger, who has been a frequent Trump critic, said.
Here are some other initiatives announced at the One Planet Summit, per the Associated Press:
- Climate Action 100+, which is comprised of 225 investment funds managing more than $26 trillion in assets, said it would use its financial clout to raise the issue of climate-related risk with 100 of the world's largest corporate greenhouse gas emitters.
- More than 200 companies pledged greater transparency on reporting climate-related risks in their businesses as part of a voluntary program led by Michael Bloomberg.
- Dutch bank ING plans to have zero investments in coal power generation by 2025.
- Norwegian pension fund Storebrand said it's expanding its portfolio of fossil fuel-free investments to more than $3 billion.
- French President Emmanuel Macron proposed raising the minimum price per metric ton of carbon dioxide to 30 euros ($35.39). Current prices for the greenhouse gas in Europe are up to five times lower.
Thank you @antonioguterres, @JimYongKim for co-organizing this unprecedented Summit on climate action. More than s… https://t.co/oV5SpQzIIo— Emmanuel Macron (@Emmanuel Macron)1513078578.0
A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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