Alert! The World Bank's Proposes To End Coal Financing! The world fights back againt the Evil Coal Monster!:)
The World Bank's proposal to end coal financing reflects 21st century realities - severe public health and climate change impacts associated with coal are no longer justifiable in a century chalk full of cheap and abundant clean energy alternatives. More importantly, coal and the centralized system it powers will not end energy poverty - only a decentralized clean energy 'grid' will get the job done. As other international public finance institutions (IFIs) step forward to end coal finance the real question is whether the World Bank will lead, follow, or get out of the way as this inevitable transition occurs.
The question of whether the World Bank leads is an important one. Historically the institution has helped set important policies and standards across the IFIs. Undoubtedly a move beyond coal would be one of the most historic. However, despite an attempt over the past several years to remake itself into a 'climate friendly' institution it has continued to support new coal plants like the one in Kosovo. Now despite a proposed coal ban World Bank president Dr. Kim's leadership may still be in jeopardy as other IFI's move further and faster.
Just days after the World Bank's proposal to end coal finance leaked the European Investment Bank (EIB) upped the ante by announcing a stronger proposed ban on coal plant investment by setting a carbon intensity bar of 550 grams/kWh (at that level the only fossil fuel plants the institution can support are natural gas). But even this standard may be strengthened as the EU is pressured to ratchet that down to 350 grams/kWh to reflect best in class gas plants. Not to be left out the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) plans to unveil a new energy policy later this month that will also set curbs on coal finance. So while it's clear that international public policy towards coal is undergoing a dramatic transition it's unclear whether the World Bank is leading the way.