Little transparency in trade financing feeds fossil finance
– At least $ 3.7 billion in 2022 alone. It is the enormous flow of money that the World Bank would have rained on oil and gas projects around the world. Through financing for the facilitation of international trade. This is the accusation launched by the NGO Urgewald in a report anticipated yesterday by the Guardian: instead of respecting the commitments made, the institution of Bretton Woods would continue with the business as usual on the road of fossil finance.
The commitments of the World Bank
This is not the first time that civil society has stressed the contradictions of the World Bank, which in its reports regularly pulls its ears to countries that do not reduce their share of fossil finance. The institution promised to discontinue all upstream oil and gas investments as early as 2019. Without a commitment, that’s all.
By the end of 2022, a coalition of 50 NGOs had calculated that by 2015, the year of the Paris Agreement, the World Bank had donated almost $15 billion in fossil finance. And under the leadership of David Malpass, between 2019 and 2023, he even flirted with denialism by belittling the role of fossils in the climate crisis.
Fossil finance without end
Under the lens of Urgewald this time ended especially the financial arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Which, according to the German NGO, lacks transparency. And it provides a screen for fossil companies, which can access funding without attracting too much attention.
The amount of $ 3.7 billion is therefore derived from an estimate resulting from a work of Carthusian reconstruction. It is certainly not an exact figure and does not want to be. It is perhaps more to be considered as an indicator of the order of magnitude of the phenomenon. And this is enough to sound the alarm bell on the direction taken by the World Bank.
According to the 1st Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement, that is, the document evaluating progress towards climate objectives, emissions throughout the life cycle of existing and projected fossil fuel infrastructure will exceed estimates that would keep the limitation of global warming to 1.5°C within reach. Without the phase out of all fossils by 2050 it is impossible to respect Paris, the report argues.