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
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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