Asian Development Bank bankrolling climate change

Press release - 8 November, 2005
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is responsible for financing climate change in Asia and its policies are contributing to the displacement of communities and the destruction of ecosystems in the region, Greenpeace said today, as activists dressed as human smokestacks blocked the exit gate of the ADB’s offices in Manila.

Greenpeace activists dressed as coal plant smokestacks block and picket the exit gate of the Asian Development Bank headquarters in Manila to protest the bank's 'financing climate change in Asia'. Greenpeace says ADB's Energy Portfolio Financing for the region focuses on 'dirty energy' specifically coal.

"For an organization whose stated goal is to reduce poverty in the Asia Pacific region, the ADB's funding polices are nothing short of grossly negligent," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia's climate spokesperson Red Constantino at the protest.

"The ADB recognizes climate change is a reality yet in countries like the Philippines it hypocritically diverts less than 0.1% of its lending target towards renewable energy. Even more scandalous is its continued attempt to categorize dirty energy like coal as part of its miniscule renewable energy program. There is no such thing as cheap coal, and clean coal is a myth," he said.

Of  the ADB's entire Energy Portfolio Financing from 1966-2004, only 1.82% went towards funding renewable energy and energy efficiency.¹ The overwhelming majority of financing has been geared towards fossil fuel power projects such as the Masinloc coal plant in the Philippines and Southeast Asia's largest and most notorious coal plant in Mae Moh, Thailand and currently funds are being earmarked for newer plants like Map Ta Phut in Thailand. Since Mae Moh began operations in 1955, 30 000 people have been displaced, almost 200 killed and thousands suffer from respiratory problems caused by inhalation and exposure to sulfur dioxide from the mine and the power station.

 "It is obscene that plants like these are some of the biggest climate change culprits and yet billions of taxpayer dollars are being used to finance dirty coal power projects like them across Asia," said Greenpeace international's Athena Ronquillo.

According to Greenpeace, governments who have agreed to cut greenhouse emissions are also being hooked into the very same technologies that produce them through their relationships with institutions like the World Bank (WB), the Japanese International Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Export Credit Agencies (ECAs), whose priorities are locking them into an unsustainable coal-led growth.

Clean alternatives to fossil fuel power in Asia are widely available. In the Philippines enough wind power potential exists to produce 7 times over the country's current energy demand. In the Chinese province of Guangdong there exists sufficient wind power potential to meet the equivalent of the current energy supply in Hong Kong.²

"Organizations like the ADB, along with the WB and JBIC, need to stop fuelling the problem of climate change and start financing cleaner, safer solutions. Greenpeace calls on International Financing Institutions to commit to a 20% renewable energy target for power project lending annually. They need to come clean on dirty energy," concluded Ronquillo.

Greenpeace is an independent campaigning organisation that uses non-violent creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Other contacts: Red Constantino, Regional Energy campaigner, +63 917 524 1123Athena Ronquillo, Greenpeace International Energy Campaigner + 63 9178131 562Michael Kessler, Greenpeace International Communications + 63 915 945 0066

VVPR info: John Novis, Greenpeace International Photo Editor +31 6 53 81 91 21

Notes: 1. From the World Alliance for Decentralised Energy report, Banking on Decentralised Energy: International FinancialInstitutions and Cogeneration, March 20052. From the report, Wind Guangdong, see: www.asiacleanenergy.org

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