March 3, 2021
New international coalition calls on ADB to make
landmark climate pledge and end fossil fuel finance
Civil society organizations and people’s movements from Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia have launched a “Fossil Free ADB” campaign to pressure the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to end its financing and support for gas, coal and oil. The international coalition is calling on the ADB to use its energy policy review to demonstrate meaningful climate leadership and end its support for fossil fuels.
The ADB is currently revising its 2009 energy policy, which will guide its investment decisions for the next decade. According to an ADB energy sector evaluation report, the “current policy is no longer adequately aligned with the global consensus on climate change.”
Since its energy policy was released, the bank has spent roughly $10 billion on fossil fuel projects. It is ramping up its financing of fossil gas projects, such as the controversial Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Pakistan – India gas pipeline. It also funded the Rupsha 800 MW Combined Cycle Power Plant in Bangladesh despite its proximity to the river-systems of the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, threatening the livelihoods of about 1,500 fisherfolk communities.
The coalition said the ADB’s continued support for fossil fuels undermines its mission to achieve a “prosperous, sustainable, inclusive and resilient” Asia and the Pacific and undercuts its commitment to climate action.
Fossil fuels are the single biggest source of global greenhouse gas emissions. Climate science shows that a rapid transition from fossil fuels is needed to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avert the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis. Global fossil fuel production would need to decline annually by 6 percent between 2020 and 2030 to be consistent with a pathway to limit warming to 1.5ºC, according to the 2020 UNEP Production Gap report.
The Fossil Free ADB coalition released a letter on Wednesday calling for the Bank to align with what’s needed to limit warming to 1.5ºC and end its financing for all fossil fuels. In recent months, governments in the UK, EU and US have made commitments to end their support for fossil fuel infrastructure both at home and abroad.
“We cannot address the climate emergency while the ADB continues to fuel it with its fossil fuel financing. We need the ADB to stop harming communities with dirty fossil fuel projects,” said Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator, Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD).
“The ADB says gas is a clean energy source, but the gas life cycle generates significant emissions of methane which is more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide. We need the ADB to invest in clean energy technologies like wind and solar to increase climate resiliency,” said Hassan Mehedi, Chief Executive, Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) in Bangladesh.
“Instead of continuing to support fossil fuel and other destructive projects which may become future financial liabilities, the ADB should rapidly scale up support for renewable energy with a focus on energy access and community ownership. The ADB should also support a just transition for workers and communities dependent on fossil fuel production,” said Glenn Ymata, Energy Campaigner, NGO Forum on ADB.
“The ADB says it cares about climate action yet has spent billions investing in fossil fuels and has played a key role in expanding gas infrastructure in Asia. If the ADB is serious about climate action and fulfilling its mission, the Bank must end its fossil fuel finance immediately,” said Susanne Wong, Senior Campaigner, Oil Change International.
- Link to ADB Sectorwide Evaluation: ADB Energy Policy and Program, 2009-2019, August 20, 2020
- In 2017, the World Bank Group committed to end its support for upstream oil and gas in addition to its ban on support for coal, and in 2019, the European Investment Bank – the largest of the multilateral development banks – went even further, and set a new standard by ending virtually all of its support for oil, gas, and coal by the end of this year.
- In December 2020, the UK announced an end to its overseas fossil fuel finance. In January 2020, the European Council adopted a new position to discourage financing of fossil fuel projects in third countries, and the US followed with an Executive Order containing a direction that US Climate Envoy John Kerry characterized as “a plan for ending international financing of fossil fuel projects with public money.”