Posts Tagged ‘World Bank’

It’s time to admit there is no future in fossils.

December 5, 2011 2 comments

By Niranjali Amerasinghe

Niranjali Amerasinghe, Staff Attorney

Following the UN climate talks in Durban can be a tedious business. Even for a conference junkie like me.  There are times when the discussions get so mired in petty political bargaining that it’s hard to keep the bigger picture in mind.  People seem to forget why they’re actually there: to find a solution to the biggest environmental threat ever faced by humanity.  This involves making significant changes to the status quo, like transitioning away from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy.  There is no way we will limit global warming to 1.5oC degrees Celsius (a level above which impacts from climate change are expected to be radically more extreme) if governments continue to pander to the special interests of the fossil fuels industry. Read more…


MESSAGE TO OBAMA: FREE AMERICA from the tyranny of oil

August 26, 2011 Leave a comment

After six days and 322 arrests (and counting), the Tar Sands Action is in full effect.  This two-week long protest is being staged on the sidewalk in front of the White House in Washington, DC, plainly visible to government employees, diplomats and tourists alike.  Concerned citizens have travelled from all 50 states and Canada to send a direct message to President Obama and the U.S. State Department:  Stop the construction of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to Gulf Coast refineries.  The tar sands extraction process requires massive amounts of energy and water, and results in about three times the amount of greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil.  In his Washington Post op-ed, Bill McKibben provides more information on the pipeline and its environmental impacts, and describes why this act of civil disobedience is so critical.  Read more…

The Real Cost of Coal

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Niranjali Amerasinghe, Staff Attorney

By Niranjali Amerasinghe

Last time I blogged, I wrote about how coal-based power projects are not as cheap as they seem.  This is because coal projects have a number of hidden social and environmental costs or externalities that are either under-valued or excluded from the typical economic costs calculus.   Today, I’d like to highlight a recent case that illustrates this exact point: the famous Eskom loan.

Last year, the World Bank approved a 3.75 billion dollar loan to Eskom Holdings (a large energy provider in South Africa) through the South African Government.  The bulk of that loan, 3.04 billion of it to be exact, is allocated to fund a 4,800 MW coal plant (Medupi) in Lephalale, South Africa.  Once completed, Medupi will tie for the largest coal plant in South Read more…

Getting the IFC to respect & protect human rights.

March 2, 2011 4 comments

Hana Heineken, Law Fellow

By Hana Heineken

Today, CIEL, along with Amnesty International, Bretton Woods Project, and International Accountability Project, submitted a letter to the Vice President and CEO of the IFC, Lars Thunell, urging the IFC to respect and protect human rights.

What is the IFC? The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of the World Bank, lends directly, or indirectly by way of financial intermediaries, to businesses in developing countries: in 2010, its investments totaled over 12.5 billion dollars, providing partial financing for over 500 projects worldwide.

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Marching on hot coals

February 28, 2011 1 comment

By Niranjali M. Amerasinghe

Niranjali M. Amerasinghe, Staff Attorney

On March 1, 2011, activists will hold rallies in cities around the world to mark a Day of Action, calling on the World Bank to phase out lending for fossil fuel generated power. For those who can’t attend in person, there will be virtual actions on the same day, which is very exciting!

Most often, the justification provided by the World Bank and other international financial institutions for continuing to support fossil fuel generated power is that it brings much-needed electricity to the poor. Or that it’s cheap, efficient, and is just the first part of a longer-term low carbon plan to address energy shortages. But coal plants are rarely short-term; they tend to have life spans of decades. They are also not low carbon or environmentally friendly. Read more…

The Real Cost of Gold: Undermining Human Rights in Guatemala

February 25, 2011 3 comments


By Amanda Kistler

Amanda Kistler, Guatemala Project Campaigner

As the muted colors of the Guatemalan altiplano blurred by the tinted windows of the van, something in the valley caught my eye: an enormous, nearly glowing chartreuse-colored body of water.  Closer inspection revealed this unnatural color emanated from the residual waters in the tailings pond of Goldcorp Inc.’s Marlin Mine in San Marcos, Guatemala.

Despite having worked in Guatemala for two years, I had never seen the Marlin mine until now.  During my years living in rural Guatemalan communities, I had begun to appreciate the deeply interwoven relationship between indigenous Mayan campesinos and their lands.  In Guatemala, land is life. Period.

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