The only funding for coal-fired power plants the World Bank will allow is to countries that have no other feasible alternatives to coal. The organization wants to ensure that impoverished countries are not left behind simply because they don’t have the money to phase out the use of fossil fuels.
This stance is particularly upsetting to China and Brazil, two countries that rely heavily on coal-fired power plants to provide electricity to their exploding populations.
In the past, the World Bank has drawn criticism since it urges global actions to lower carbon emissions while simultaneously giving large sums of money to coal-fired power plants…two concepts in direct opposition.
The World Bank updates its Energy Sector Directions paper every 10 years, and the newest one is in support of hydroelectric power. This support is markedly different than the organization’s stance in the 1990s, when it recommended abandoning hydroelectric projects, instead pushing for wind power.
Advocacy Groups like International Rivers strongly believe that the World Bank ignores valuable solutions to reduce fossil fuel dependence.
However, things may be changing. Under the direction of new President Jim Yong Kim, who happens to be a scientist, the World Bank has launched its most aggressive campaign against climate change. Kim insists that it is impossible to eradicate poverty without acknowledging and addressing global warming.