World Bank makes historic pledge to stop financing oil and gas exploration
The World Bank has announced that from 2019 it will stop financing upstream oil and gas operations, as part of a series of commitments to boost its climate contributions towards implementing the Paris Agreement.
Although the Bank has stopped its financial support for coal-fired stations since 2010, environmental campaigners and lobby groups were pushing for the halt to almost $1 billion a year that the Bank lends to oil and gas companies in developing countries.
The World Bank explained, however, that in exceptional circumstances it will consider supporting projects where upstream gas offers significant competitive advantages in the poorest countries and goes in line with the Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets.
The announcement took place during the One Planet Summit in Paris, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, where numerous prestigious organisations announced ambitious climate plans.
Stephen Kretzmann, Executive Director of the Washington-based advocacy group Oil Change International, welcomed the news: “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. The World Bank has now raised the bar for climate leadership by recognising the simple yet inconvenient truth that achieving the Paris agreement’s climate goals requires an end to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry”.
Gyorgy Dallos, Senior Climate & Energy Campaign Strategist at Greenpeace International said: “The end is clearly coming for the oil and gas industry as the pace of change accelerates. The world’s financial institutions now need to take note and decide whether their financing is going to be part of the problem or the solution”.
The Bank also announced that it is well on track to meet its target of 28 percent of total lending going towards climate finance by 2020.
In addition, it revealed that it is developing a greenhouse gas emissions report for all the projects it finances in key emissions sectors, such as energy. The report is expected to launch in late 2018 and will be published annually thereafter.
You can read the full list of World Bank’s newly announced climate projects here.