Will EBRD be the bad boy of international development finance?

Posted on 03 September 2013  | 

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), one of the world’s largest development banks, meets this week [1] to discuss its new policy on lending to energy projects. WWF calls on the Bank to follow the example set by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and World Bank earlier this year, and stop financing for coal projects.

The draft document under discussion ignores the need to move away from coal and nuclear energy, opens the door to controversial shale gas and does not improve hydropower standards.

Sébastien Godinot, Economist at WWF European Policy Office said: “Does the EBRD really want to be the bad boy of international development finance? We all know that the way forward is with renewables and that coal investments of this type are locking future generations into toxic energy. At the very least the EBRD should align its new policy with those of the European Investment Bank [2] and the World Bank and stop supporting coal given its disastrous impact on climate and health.”

Jason Anderson, Head of Climate and Energy Policy at WWF European Policy Office said: “Our international Seize Your Power campaign calls on public financial leaders to boost support for renewable energy and energy savings – the EBRD needs to be part of this solution. It should lead the way in investing in a fossil fuel free world – starting immediately by abandoning coal projects such as the Kolubara B lignite power plant in Serbia or the Kosova e Re lignite power plant in Kosovo. These projects will lock in polluting emissions for decades to come”.

Over 17,000 people have signed a joint NGOs’ petition to the EBRD to end its investment in coal, which will be delivered this week. WWF’s global petition to all major investors, including the EBRD, has been signed by more than 40,000 concerned people asking for greater investments in clean, renewable energy. WWF is running a global campaign, Seize Your Power, calling on financial institutions to take this leadership [3].

WWF will participate in all EBRD public events to raise awareness on coal and hydropower impacts and ask for more renewable and energy saving projects instead. WWF will submit comments to the EBRD draft before the deadline of 30 September.


Notes to the editors:

[1] After a first meeting in London last 25 July, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is organizing three public meetings this week in Istanbul (2 Sept), Belgrade (4 Sept) and Moscow (6 September).

[2] Disappointingly the EBRD does not use two key tools of the European Investment Bank for that purpose: an Emission Performance Standard for power plants and a shadow carbon price. The EIB will implement an Emission Performance Standard of 550 g CO2/kWh: when emissions of a fossil fuel power plant are above, the project is rejected by the bank. It is an effective, simple and technology neutral way to reduce climate impacts of the electricity sector. The EIB also uses a shadow carbon price of 25 €/ ton CO2 in 2010, rising 1 euro a year, when it does the economic assessment of fossil fuel power plants, in order to internalize the economic cost of climate change.

[3] WWF's new global campaign, Seize Your Power, calls on financial institutions to significantly increase their funding of renewable energy and cut funding to fossil fuels because we recognise that the level of CO2 emissions in the world requires drastic action to limit global warming.


Audrey Gueudet
Climate & Energy Media and Communication Officer
WWF European Policy Officer
Phone: +32 2 743 88 06
Mobile: + 32 494 03 20 27
Coal power plants in Italy will keep polluting the atmosphere. The Italian government allows an increase of carbon dioxide emissions.
© WWF-Canon / Mauri RAUTKARI Enlarge

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