Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development

|A coalition of people’s movements across Asia demanding greater action to tackle climate change has called on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to immediately stop financing coal-fired power projects in response to the recently-issued evaluation report of the ADB energy policy.

Last August 31, the ADB Independent Evaluation Department (IED) announced that based on its evaluation of the bank’s energy policy and program for the years 2009 to 2019, it recommends that the bank revisit its 2009 energy policy and formally withdraw from financing new coal-fired energy capacity to support the Asian region in meeting the global consensus on climate change.

“It is an urgent recommendation and articulates what should have been done yesterday. And so we say to ADB: We await your immediate coal exit,” said Lidy Nacpil, coordinator of the Asian People’s Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).

The IED evaluation report found that while the Philippines-based ADB has refrained from investing in coal-fired power plants since 2013, it now needs to clarify its formal institutional position regarding the financing and use of coal. It also recommends that ADB update its energy policy to emphasize climate change mitigation and adaptation as a core priority, and place higher emphasis on promoting a more active high-level engagement with developing member countries in their energy sectors.

Nacpil said multilateral development banks have a crucial role in achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement to limit the rise of global average temperature to 1.5 °C and stabilize global temperature, preventing catastrophic climate change.

“As a publicly-funded institution, it is unacceptable that ADB’s current energy policy allows financing for coal and natural gas-based power generation,” said Nacpil.

“Despite its declarations that it is committed to clean energy, ADB is still funding coal and fossil fuels. In the past few years, it has invested in fossil gas and related infrastructure across Asia and in coal projects, such as the controversial 4,000-megawatt Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Coal plant in the Indian state of Gujarat and the Jamshoro coal-fired power plant project in Pakistan,” added Nacpil.

At last year’s Asia Clean Energy Forum, then ADB President Takehiko Nakao said the bank has plans to stop funding coal-fired power plants except in selected countries where the bank considers the alternatives to be limited.

“I don’t know whether we will totally dismiss the possibility of coal projects, because in some countries there’s no access to other options,” he said.

Based on 2015-2016 data of the think-tank E3G, ADB’s fossil finance is slightly higher than its energy related climate finance at a ratio of 1:0.9.