ADB 2009 Energy Policy is bad news for climate: Greenpeace

Feature story - June 19, 2009
Greenpeace today condemned the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for continuing to finance fossil-fuel power plants and failing to live up to their own recommendations and promises to combat climate change made during the Climate and Clean Energy Week that concluded in Manila today.

Carrying placards with words "Live Long and Prosper: Stop Climate Change" a group of unidentified aliens visited the Asian Development Bank headquarters during an on-going high-level dialogue on climate and clean energy. The alien rally was organized by Greenpeace, NGO Forum on the ADB, and Oxfam to call for the implementation of genuine climate change solutions.

ADB's updated Energy Policy released on the occasion, is business as usual with no intention of removal of coal, oil or gas from its portfolio to make way for investments in tried, tested and real 'clean energy' technologies such as wind, solar and modern bio-mass. Instead it is shifting funds to clean coal, with dubious techniques such as fluidized bed combustion, supercritical and ultra-supercritical boilers, and flue gas desulphurization.

"For all the brave words uttered during the meeting on climate leadership, ADB's new energy policy is seriously flawed. For the ADB, 'clean energy' are words that do not mean anything," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Climate and Energy Campaigner Amalie Obusan.  "For instance, in the latest policy ADB will continue to finance oil-based power plants for island communities and sparsely populated areas, instead of promoting solar-, wind- or modern biomass based technologies that have proven to be the best bet for such communities."

ADB's recent report "The Economics of Climate Change in Southeast Asia:

A Regional Review" acknowledges the role of coal in abetting climate change. It confirms that Southeast Asia is highly vulnerable to climate change, and how the region has a great potential to contribute to greenhouse gas emissions reduction.  It also states that the costs of taking no early action against climate change could be very high, both for Southeast Asia as well as the rest of the world. It also argues that the current global economic crisis offers Southeast Asia an opportunity to start a transition towards a climate-resilient and low-carbon economy by introducing green stimulus programs that can simultaneously shore up economies, create jobs, reduce poverty, lower carbon emissions, and prepare for the worst effects of climate change.

"But ADB is clearly not influenced by its own reports and fails to understand its role in fuelling climate change as is clear from the policy revisions for 2009. Greenpeace believes that the only way the ADB can become relevant as a development bank in the fight against climate change is by completely phasing out its support coal and other climate unfriendly technologies and act to introduce stimuli for developing climate resilient and low carbon economies," Obusan concluded.

The year 2009 is a crucial year for the planet, when the intensive year-long round of international negotiations will culminate in the Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December where governments must thresh out a robust deal to combat climate change. In light of these government negotiations, the ADB's role must be to help developing countries redirect investments from fossil fuel to renewables, avoiding the climate destructive path of developed countries.

Greenpeace is an independent, global campaigning organization that acts to change attitudes and behavior, to protect and conserve the environment, and to promote peace.

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