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Well, the World Bank’s senior management has really done it this time: As my colleague Joel Meister reported today, Congress has reacted to its intransigence on carbon accounting and coal-fired power by deleting budgetary support for the Bank’s Clean Technology Fund. After c
The U.S. Congress today passed its omnibus appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2009, H.R. 1105. Missing in action: the U.S. contribution to the World Bank's so-called Clean Technology Fund (CTF), which has repeatedly come under fire from CGD's David Wheeler and others for including coal-fired power plants among those potentially eligible for CTF support.
Even as President Obama breaks new ground this week on U.S. environmental policy, an upcoming vote by country members of the World Bank’s Clean Technology Fund Trust Fund Committee may perpetuate business-as-usual policies that subsidize coal-fired power plants and contribute to global warming. On Friday morning, the committee is scheduled to consider and approve investment criteria that include coal-fired power projects among “clean” technologies that are eligible for billions in MDB financing.
This is a joint post with Kevin Ummel, Robin Kraft, Joel Meister and Dan Hammer
During the second presidential debate on October 7, an exchange took place that tells us a lot about what to expect from an Obama administration:
Tom Brokaw: Senator Obama, if you would give us your list of priorities, there are some real questions about whether everything can be done at once.
Barack Obama: We're going to have to prioritize, just like a family has to prioritize … Energy we have to deal with today … So that would be priority number one.
As the World Bank moves closer to launching the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), serious questions remain over how the money will be spent. The political headwinds in Washington have shifted since June, when the Congress began to consider contributing to the fund. While the result is still uncertain, it appears increasingly likely that the CTF will ultimately focus on truly clean technology while generally avoiding investments in coal and other high-carbon fossil fuels.
This is a joint posting with Vijaya Ramachandran
The World Bank Group's board appears to be operating under a severe case of cognitive dissonance, supporting efforts to save tigers - threatened in India and Bangladesh by habitat loss due to climate change - while helping build coal-fired power plants that will only speed up this process.
Back in June the Bank launched a campaign to help governments develop and better manage forests inhabited by endangered tigers, including in the Sunderbans. This massive mangrove forest spans the India-Bangladesh border and is home to the Bengal tiger. While the Bank has a less-than-stellar conservation track record in Sunderbans, more important is the fact that this impoverished World Heritage site would be one of the hardest hit by climate change, whether from rising sea levels or the disappearance of the glacier that feeds the Ganges river.
But the Bank's commitment to poverty reduction and biodiversity stands in stark contrast to its bread-and-butter financing choices. As the Bank planned its save-the-tiger campaign, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank's private sector arm, was putting together a deal to finance $450 million of the misguided $4+ billion Tata Mundra Ultra Mega coal-fired plant in India. Financing 10% of the cost of a plant being built by India's largest company will help propel India's power sector emissions to third highest in the world within a few years, behind China and the U.S. Is this a smart use of scarce international public resources?
This is a joint posting with David Wheeler
The International Finance Corporation, the private sector investment arm of the World Bank, is set to have yet another banner year with profits in the range of $2 billion. As the IFC's equity stakes in services, telecommunications and particularly in oil and gas have grown, so have its profits. In FY07, IFC invested more than $8 billion of its own money and mobilized nearly $4 billion more. In Sub-Saharan Africa, it invested about $1.4 billion, doubling its investments from the previous year. In FY08, these numbers look to be even larger. If the IFC continues on its current path, in five years its portfolio will be larger than that of the World Bank itself.
On Monday, one week in advance of the climate-themed G8 Summit in Japan, the Indian government released its first ever national climate change action plan. In line with previous statements by India and other developing countries, no specific emission targets or timetables were presented.
The House Financial Services Committee will consider new legislation this week that would contribute $400 million in FY2009 to a multilateral Clean Technology Fund (CTF), administered by the World Bank, to promote low-carbon energy production in developing countries. Scheduled for mark-up on Tuesday, H.R.