“Foreign Operations” appropriation bills now working their way through Congress supposedly provide funding to “advance U.S. diplomatic priorities overseas,” “increase global security,” and continue “life-saving global health and humanitarian assistance programs for the world’s most vulnerable populations.”
The bills include handsome funding for the World Bank and other so-called Multilateral Development Banks: some $1.8 billion in total. The United States is by far the World Bank Group’s largest donor, and a major funder of four other MDBs: the African Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
In recent years, these banks have embraced manmade climate change alarmism as a key foundation for their lending policies. In particular, they refuse to fund the development of electric power generation via fossil fuels – thereby starving impoverished nations and families of desperately needed electricity.
Instead, the MDBs are pouring money into solar and wind power schemes that simply cannot produce affordable, reliable electricity on a large enough scale to help raise their client countries out of poverty.
In fact, they are ramping up their green madness. The five just-named MDBs, along with the European Investment Bank and Islamic Development Bank, recently released a joint report on what they call “climate finance” – which last year jumped a whopping 30 percent – to a staggering $34 billion dollars!
With over $13 billion in its coffers, the World Bank has the lion’s share of this green oppression money. But every one of these banks has greatly increased its climate focus, some even doubling it.
That is not just appalling. It is immoral and contrary to the supposed purposes of the appropriation bills. The MDBs have become anti-development banks, anti-vulnerable people banks. Their virtue-asserting “climate finance” terminology is more accurately described as climate callousness.
These tens of billions of dollars should help support projects that provide real, affordable, dependable power for the nearly 1.2 billion people around the world who still do not have electricity. Another 2 billion have electrical power only sporadically and unpredictably. In India alone, almost as many people as live in the USA still lack electricity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 700 million people (the population of Europe) rarely or never have electricity, and still cook and heat with wood, charcoal, and animal dung.
Every year, hundreds of millions become ill and 5 million die of lung and intestinal diseases from inhaling pollutants from open fires, and from lack of clean water, refrigeration and bacteria-free food. Largely because their nations lack energy to power modern economies, nearly 3 billion survive on a few dollars per day, and more millions die every year from preventable or curable diseases.
But the anti-development banks simply double down on their lethal policies. Their new report asserts: “The joint methodology for tracking climate change mitigation finance recognizes the importance of long-term structural changes such as the shift in energy production to renewable energy technologies, and the modal shift to low-carbon modes of transport.”
They’ve served notice that they stopped financing coal-fired power in 2010. Now they intend to stop financing oil and gas exploration by poor countries, and instead will push for total “decarbonization.”
Just like that, fossil fuels are gone from developing nation energy funding. No discussion. No vote. No actual evidence for climate cataclysms. No recourse. Just a policy decision by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats – supported by self-serving pressure groups, politicians and “green” energy companies.
These bankers, pols and activists couldn’t even run their own operations (or their homes) on sporadic, unpredictable, 14/4/265 wind and solar power. The companies couldn’t even manufacture their wind turbines and solar panels. Yet they demand that entire developing nations accept whatever jobs, medical facilities, schools, homes and living standards can be supported by this fairy tale energy.
It is an obscene global tragedy. These MDB policies condemn billions to poverty and millions to slow, agonizing death. America should no longer support any of this. No decent country should.
Thankfully for the sidelined nations, Chinese banks have begun helping to finance coal- and gas-fired power in Asia and Africa. In the process, they have gained tremendous political and strategic leverage, at the expense of the United States, Europe and MDBs. Other banks can and should do likewise.
All developing countries should avoid doing what rich nations are doing now that they are rich. Instead, they should do what rich nations did to become rich. They should remember that wealthy industrialized countries did not have MDBs to help them. They created institutions to finance the power generation and factories that created the jobs, middle classes, health and prosperity that paid for it all – and far more.
China, India and other emerging economies are doing the same thing. They are effectively telling the World Bank and other MDBs: “Get lost. We don’t need your funding, with all your anti-development strings. You eco-imperialist banks and activists will not hold us back any longer. We are going to chart our own destiny, and take our rightful places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people.”
The MDBs claim their policies reflect the Paris Climate Treaty vision of “making financial flows consistent with low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development” – by coordinating climate “mitigation” (prevention) and “adaptation” programs. This moral preening ignores critical realities.
To be resilient in the face of climate change (natural or manmade), countries must be wealthy and technologically advanced. That is impossible with existing or foreseeable renewable energy on scales required to replace today’s fossil fuel energy and power up countries that are still in the dark ages – especially if the banks and their allies remain opposed to nuclear (and hydroelectric) power.
Moreover, the obsessive, unbending focus on alleged fossil-fuel-driven climate chaos ignores the enormous social, economic, health and other benefits that fossil fuels have bestowed on humanity over the past 150 years. It ignores the ways actual temperature and weather observations have been revised, “homogenized” and exaggerated to reflect alarmist narratives and computer models.
It ignores the unsustainable amounts of metals, hydrocarbons, concrete, and especially scenic and habitat land that would be required to convert the world to wind, solar, battery and biofuel power. And for what?
At this point, there is no convincing evidence (observations instead of models) demonstrating that carbon dioxide levels drive climate and weather; today’s temperatures, polar ice, sea level rise, storms or droughts are dangerously or profoundly unprecedented; humans can control all of this by limiting CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions; or anything on the horizon can replace fossil fuels anytime soon.
Indeed, on what basis was it decreed that a crisis or tipping point would be reached if Earth experienced 1.5 or 2.0 degrees Celsius (2.7 or 3.6 Fahrenheit) in higher average global temperatures since 1850, when the Little Ice Age ended and the modern industrial age began? Where is the real-world evidence?
For MDBs to remain focused on alleged climate and weather chaos, mostly in the distant future – while ignoring today’s massive, horrendous poverty, disease, malnutrition and death – is morally depraved.
President Trump, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Ryan and Secretary of State Pompeo need to end the insanity. They need to give this money to agencies and programs that will support fossil fuels and real life-saving actions for the world’s most vulnerable people.
Congress and the White House are a short trek from the World Bank headquarters. They should have no trouble delivering the message – and making it resonate with the other Multilateral Development Banks.
If Congress isn’t up to the task, perhaps Mr. Trump can convince them redirect some of this money – or other billions that are being wasted on climate alarmism and renewable energy fantasies.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change and economic development. David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science and logic in public policy.