European officials urge World Bank to bar fossil-fuel investments: Report

By Kate Abnett and Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senior officials from Europe have urged the World Bank's management to expand its climate change strategy to exclude investments in oil- and coal-related projects around the world, and gradually phase out investment in natural gas projects, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

In the six-page letter dated Wednesday, World Bank executive directors representing major European shareholder countries and Canada, welcomed moves by the Bank to ensure its lending supports efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

But they called on the Bank - the biggest provider of climate finance to the developing world - to go even further, the sources said.

"We ... think the Bank should now go further and also exclude all coal- and oil-related investments, and further outline a policy on gradually phasing out gas power generation to only invest in gas in exceptional circumstances," the European officials wrote in the letter, excerpts of which were seen by Reuters.

The officials took note of the World Bank's $620 million investment in a multibillion-dollar liquified natural gas project in Mozambique approved by the Bank's board in January, but did not call for its cancellation, one of the sources said.

Many of the recommendations included in the letter are already reflected in a second-phase climate action plan for fiscal years 2021-2025 that Bank officials are now finalizing, two of the sources said. The first plan began in fiscal year 2016.

The United States, the largest shareholder in the World Bank, this month rejoined the 2015 Paris climate accord, and has vowed to move multilateral institutions and U.S. public lending institutions toward "climate-aligned investments and away from high-carbon investments."

World Bank President David Malpass told finance officials from the Group of 20 economies on Friday that the Bank would make record investments in climate change mitigation and adaptation for a second consecutive year in 2021.

He said it was also launching new reviews to integrate climate into all its country diagnostics and strategies, a step initiated before the letter from the European officials, said one of the sources.

 

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington and Kate Abnett in Brussels; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)


(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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