The Heat Is Online

G-8 Calls for Cuts While World Bank Pushes More Oil

Germany in push to set G8 emissions target


(While World Bank increases lending for oil development)


Financial Times, April 13, 2007


Germany, this year's chair of the Group of Eight rich countries, has pushed the group to set a tough target for reducing carbon emissions, the first time it has been asked to commit to an explicit reduction.

But environmentalists said the World Bank, which the G8 has asked to finance the shift away from carbon use in the developing world, was continuing to ramp up lending for oil and gas.

A February draft of the final communiqué of the June heads of government meeting, obtained by the Financial Times, says: "Global warming caused largely by human activities is accelerating . . . beyond a temperature increase of 2 degrees C, risks from climate change will be largely unmanageable."

The draft said the G8 would "contribute our fair share" to limit global warming by ensuring global greenhouse gas emissions peaked in the next 10-15 years and then cutting them 50 per cent by 2050 from 1990 levels.

The US has dismissed calls for limits as "rhetoric". People in Berlin familiar with the German position said the 2°C limit to global warming remained in more recent drafts of the communiqué, but was facing "extremely strong opposition" from Washington, which was fighting its inclusion in the final draft.

The Germans and the British "would like to retain this language, but it will be very difficult", one person said.

The G8 has in the past called on the World Bank to fund greener energy generation in the developing world. Analysis of the bank's data for its lending in 2006 by the Bank Information Center, a Washington-based campaign group, showed lending to the fossil fuel industry rose by 93 per cent in 2006, compared with an increase of only 46 per cent in lending for renewable energy and conservation projects.

"There is a disconnect between what the G8 keeps saying and what the World Bank is doing," said Graham Saul, director of international programmes at Oil Change International, a campaign group. "Funding the expansion of the oil industry is a role the bank has played since the 1970s and it has been a great cash cow for them."

Jamal Saghir, director of energy for the World Bank, said the upward trend in the share of the bank's lending for control of carbon emissions was clear.

Renewable energy and energy efficiency projects had risen to 37 per cent of the World Bank Group's energy portfolio from just 14 per cent in 1994. "The bank is a world leader in lending for renewable energy and energy efficiency," he said. It had matched and beaten the target it had been set of increasing such lending by 20 per cent a year, Mr Saghir said.

The bank group as a whole includes its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, which has funded several controversial oil and gas pipelines in the developing world.

The G8 heads of government meet in June to discuss climate change, the world economy, trade and foreign policy. The communiqué also contains a strongly worded attack on "investment protectionism", which it says is imperilling the continued integration of the global economy.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2007

G8 debates real climate action as World Bank Support For Oil Rises


Oil Change, April 13, 2007


Oil Change Press Release, 4/13/07  A leaked draft G-8 Summit Declaration reveals that G8 leaders are considering an historic breakthrough in the fight against climate change at the upcoming G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. Despite the concern over climate, the draft ignores hundreds of billions of dollars in fossil fuel subsidies including increasing levels of support from aid agencies like the World Bank.

The world urgently needs the G8 to take aggressive action on climate change and the draft Summit Declaration suggests that they may finally be ready to do it, said Graham Saul, International Programs Director for Oil Change International. Targets and timetables for real actions are critical, but the G8 is ignoring the most obvious thing they could do right now  cut off public funding for fossil fuels.

Figures compiled by the Washington-based NGO, the Bank Information Center, show that the World Bank support for fossil fuels increased by 93% in FY06 ($869 mil) over FY05 ($450.8 mil). Moreover, the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, increased its financial support to oil companies by 77%. Bank Group support for renewable energy also increased, although at a lower rate  46%.

In Gleneagles, Scotland, two years ago, G-8 leaders instructed the World Bank to create a new framework for clean energy and development, including investment and financing. Its not only his girlfriend that Wolfowitz is helping out, its his friends in the oil industry too said Steve Kretzmann, of Oil Change International. If this is the Banks new direction on energy, its time for the G8 to pull their money out of the World Bank.

The draft G8 Summit Declaration argues that if global average temperatures are allowed to rise beyond 2 degrees C the risks from climate change will become unmanageable and that avoiding this increase in temperature will require global greenhouse gas emissions to peak within the next 10 to 15 years, followed by substantial global emissions reductions of around 50% by 2050 compared to 1990 levels. If adopted at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm in June, this would be the first time that G8 leaders have jointly acknowledged these important scientific conclusions.

Yet despite acknowledging the urgent need for action, the draft Summit Declaration makes no mention of what the Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change recently called the most obvious of the many policies that distort the market in favor of fossil fuels: the more than $250bn a year in direct and indirect subsidies to oil and other fossil fuels.

If G8 leaders want the World Bank and other international financial institutions to play a leading role in the fight against climate change, they need to demand that these institutions stop using public money to bankroll the oil industry. said Saul. Its outrageous that we are funneling billions of dollars worth of aid money into the pockets of oil companies instead of using that money to fight energy poverty and kick-start a new energy revolution.