Sierra Club India Environment Post: Leadership On Fossil Fuels Better To Burn Out Or Fade Away?
October 11, 2010: This past weekend civil society members from around the world descended on Washington D.C. for the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. With the memory of the Eskom Medupi battle fresh in the minds of many, and the World Bank energy strategy review well underway, the meetings were a chance for civil society to forcefully advocate for the Bank to phase out lending for fossil fuels, ensure energy access for the poor, and eliminate lending for large-scale hydro projects, goals which the Bank has thus far largely failed to achieve.
The Bank however glosses over this failure by continually pushing a false narrative that its fossil fuel energy lending - which includes record sums for coal - is meant to ensure energy access for the poor. In a pointed response to a question on phasing out fossil fuel lending during a civil society town forum, World Bank president Robert Zoellick lambasted those in the West who deny the world’s poor fossil fuel based energy when we ourselves continue to burn coal. Unfortunately, he was unaware that of 26 independently reviewed fossil fuel projects in 2009 and 2010 not a single one had the specific aim of ensuring energy access for the poor, a fact that a searing report from Oil Change International makes painfully clear.
While Mr. Zoellick and the Bank writ large shamefully promoted the failed policies of the past at the annual meetings, a champion was busy rising to the challenges of today in an effort to avoid the destruction that these policies hold. Over the past week, Jairam Ramesh made the unprecedented move of putting on hold for one year all coal-based ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) to be sited in coastal areas relying on imported coal. These 4,000 MW projects are critical to the Government of India’s (GoI) plans for bridging the country’s power deficit. Ramesh’s halt is merely the latest in a series of moves that have earned his ministry the moniker the “no-go ministry.” As if to punctuate the move, later in the week Ramesh clashed with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s demands for a review of all hydro projects in the Northeast region of the country by declaring a “moratorium on any further clearances, as… these are bound to be the subject of agitation.” Read the full report here.
Source: by Guay, Sierra Club.