World Bank to Developing Nations: Drop Dead

With every major energy forecast, including from the U.S. government, acknowledging that coal is going to play a significant role in the world’s energy mix (especially in poorer developing nations) for decades to come, take note of the fact that the World Bank voted yesterday to cease funding coal-fired power plants in developing nations.  Developing nations had successfully fought this move at the World Bank for some time now, but relented with some recent word changes.

There’s very interesting detail in the E&E news account (subscription service, so no link):

The policy did undergo some last-minute tweaks. A draft leaked to ClimateWire and other outlets last month said the World Bank Group “will cease providing financial support” for greenfield coal generation except in limited circumstances. But the version that won the board’s blessing yesterday was changed at the behest of China to positive verbiage, saying the bank “will provide financial support for greenfield coal power generation projects only in rare circumstances.”

Analysts called it a semantic difference, though sources said the United States raised an objection and urged the more strongly worded version before agreeing to the policy.  (Underline added.)

So the Obama Administration is a major force behind this.  I can guess the next step.  Don’t buy that “rare circumstances” hedge.  Not only will the World Bank stop funding all new coal power, but it will also hold hostage other energy projects to any nation that uses alternative financing for coal power.

I am not aware of any nation that has grown prosperous without a fairly significant amount of coal-fired power.

Another part of the E&E story shows the perverse fantasyland these folks inhabit:

The bank’s sweeping “Directions for the World Bank Group’s Energy Sector” emphasizes bringing energy access to the estimated 1.2 billion people living without electricity and 2.8 billion without modern cooking facilities. It promises financial solutions for the most feasible energy options in poor, fragile and conflict-ridden states. It embraces renewable energy, energy efficiency and off-grid technology while also vowing to increase assistance for natural gas and large hydropower development.

Energy efficiency for 1.2 billion people who have no electricity at all, and 2.8 billion people with primitive cooking technology (which means renewable wood and biomass, i.e., cow dung)?  Sounds like they’re already highly energy efficient and into renewables.  What’s the problem?

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