The World Bank has helped reduce global energy poverty, but often with a big carbon footprint. Climate Advisers calculated that shifting World Bank energy lending from coal to renewables and energy efficiency would reduce emissions by 250 million tons of carbon per year through 2030 – and inspire other investors to take similar action with even larger climate dividends.
Climate advocates tried unsuccessfully to convince the World Bank to stop financing coal projects. Developing nations refused so long as developed nations continued to build new coal plants themselves and progress seemed unlikely.
The Climate Advisers analysis not only emboldened climate champions to push harder, but also helped depoliticize international negotiations by shifting the terms of the debate. The key moment in this campaign came when the World Bank announced it would cut off almost all funding for new coal plants in middle-income countries around the world.
In 2016, ClimateWorks funded Climate Advisers to lead an international coalition of NGOs who, together, would advocate for the inclusion of strong language that mainstreamed energy efficiency within the newly-formed AIIB’s Energy Strategy. The group – which also included the Energy Foundation China and the China Energy Council, Deutsche Umwelthilfe in Germany, and the International Institute for Energy Conservation in India – sought to engage the AIIB’s senior leadership, Board of Directors, International influencers and in-country stakeholders to raise the profile of energy efficiency and develop a strategy to incorporate it into their daily operations.
While we are pleased with the strategy and its strong focus on energy efficiency, Climate Advisers and our partners will be paying careful attention to its implementation – especially the design of demand-side financial products and promotion of best practice EE technology – in order to identify opportunities to build on this initial success.
Fortunately, the two goals of ending energy poverty and protecting the Earth’s climate are compatible: ending energy poverty with this smart mix of energy sources and policies would only increase carbon dioxide emissions by 0.7 percent in 2030.
To inform public debate on these issues, Climate Advisers analyzed whether carbon border measures would comply with World Trade Organization obligations.
America must address climate change to be competitive on the world stage – and we can do it in a way that addresses both policy and political concerns.