June 13, 2019
By Daphne Psaledakis
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Climate projects won record financing from the world’s big development banks last year, with funds committed up 60% since the 2015 Paris climate accord to curb global warming emissions, a report published on Thursday said.
The financing from six multilateral development banks to boost projects addressing climate risks and cutting emissions reached $43.1 billion in 2018, up 22% from the previous year and accounting for almost 30% of the banks’ total operations.
Some of the financed projects included the installation of flood barriers at affordable rural housing program sites at risk of flooding and support for policy actions, such as the acceleration and increase of a country’s renewable energy plan.
The joint report was released by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank Group (IDBG) and the World Bank Group (WBG).
The banks announced a joint framework in 2018 to align their work with the Paris agreement, which aims to keep the global temperature rise as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible.
The bulk of the banks’ climate financing last year was aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing global warming, with over $30 billion invested.
Almost $13 billion was also invested in efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change, including worsening droughts, flooding, more extreme weather events and rising sea levels.
Additionally, the banks reported $68.1 billion in net climate co-finance, or investments from the public and private sector.
Climate activists have called for development banks to divest from any investment linked to burning to fossil fuels.
Advocacy groups have campaigned against the EIB, the World Bank and EBRD’s financing of two new pipelines to pump gas from Central Asia to Europe, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline and Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline.
The EIB committed $5.7 billion in climate finance in 2018, second after the World Bank Group, which committed $21.3 billion, according to the report.
The World Bank announced in 2017 it would no longer finance upstream oil and gas projects after this year, apart from certain gas projects in the poorest countries in exceptional circumstances.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel and Catherine Evans)