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Down to Earth No.78, August 2008

More calls for climate justice

As the intergovernmental process to agree a post-Kyoto climate agreement moves towards the 2009 deadline, Asian civil society groups meeting in Bangkok in July have called again for climate justice. Global anti-poverty campaigners have also criticised the richest countries of failing to live up to promises of strong commitments on climate change at June's G8 meeting in Hokkaido.

Activists called for a "fundamental departure from the current global order" to address the climate crisis. Over 170 participants, including fisherfolk, farmers, indigenous peoples, women, youth and activists from 31 countries attended the 3-day Bangkok conference in July, which was organised by Focus on the Global South.

"By climate justice, we mean that the burden of adjustment to the climate crisis must be borne by those who have created it, and not by those who have been least responsible" said a conference document.1

The conference heard that industrialised countries have been responsible for about 90% of greenhouse gas emissions, but that 99% of the risks of climate change are being shouldered by people in developing countries.

Participants expressed their frustration at how those dominating the climate discussions so far - governments and corporations - have failed to address the causes of climate change. The groups called on governments to address overconsumption in developed countries and among developing country elites.

The groups reached a consensus on their opposition to carbon trading and offset schemes, such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)2 and Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD)3 initiatives, which "allow polluters to buy their way out of reducing emissions".

They also said that industrialised agrofuels, megadams and nuclear power were false solutions would could worsen the climate crisis and deepen global inequality.

G8 meeting

The June meeting of the G8 countries in Hokkaido produced nothing new on tackling climate change, said an international civil society alliance, Global Call to Action Against Poverty. A group statement criticised the fact that no new resources had been committed to climate change adaptation and said the commitment to reduce global emissions by 50% by 2050 was not credible. Campaigners have called for an interim 2020 target to be set.

Climate funds

The group was also critical of the G8's support for the World Bank's role in managing climate funds. Said Nur Amalia of CGAP Indonesia: "..the World Bank, which has been mainly responsible for destroying the climate, cannot be charged with managing the fund. It's like cleaning the floor with a dirty cloth".4

The World Bank's Board approved two proposed climate investment funds - the umbrella Strategic Climate Fund and the Clean Technology Fund - on July 1st, amid international criticism from CSOs.5

G8 members have pledged approximately US$6 billion as an ODA contribution to the funds. In a statement on climate change issued at Hokkaido, the G8 said they encouraged REDD and that the private sector would be the main source of funding to address climate change. Despite recent evidence highlighting how emissions trading regimes have failed to deliver cuts, the G8 also recognised the role of the market, including emissions trading within and between countries, as helping to reduce emissions in a 'cost-effective manner'.6

CSOs and some governments have argued that climate funds should be housed in a body managed by the UNFCCC.7 They have also queried what is meant by 'clean technology'. In early June, over 120 civil society groups issued a statement during the UNFCCC meeting in Germany, stating that the World Bank needs to define the term. According to Kenny Bruno, International Program Director for Oil Change International, one of the signatory groups, "What they are really proposing is a 'slightly less dirty' technology fund, which will include financing of coal plants that are somewhat less polluting than the dirtiest plants out there." 8


A new briefing by European NGOs FERN, Global Witness and Rainforest Foundation builds on previous thinking about avoided deforestation and REDD initiatives, and attempts to identify positive uses for international funds to protect forest and forest peoples' rights. It specifically warns against carbon trading, as well as World Bank management of funding. Carbon trading, it argues, does not encourage a reduction in carbon use, but instead encourages business as usual approaches to dealing with climate change, as well as speculation. The World Bank is not an appropriate fund manager as it has a poor record on forest conservation, as there is clear conflict of interest with its fossil fuels extraction investments and it has a thorny relationship with indigenous peoples.9

IFC lending to fossil fuel projects shoots up

New analysis by the US-based think tank, the Bank Information Center (BIC), shows that the World Bank Group has increased spending on the extractive industries - underlining the argument that it is not fitted to manage global climate change mitigation and adaptation funds.

The Bank's private lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has increased lending for fossil fuel projects by a whopping 165% during July 2007-June 2008. The World Bank itself, decreased its commitment to such projects, but overall the World Bank Group increased lending by 60% in the same period.10 This is despite recommendations by the Extractive Industries Review that lending for coal and oil projects should be ended.

Recent IFC lending approvals to Indonesia - extractives & fossil fuel based power generation, from BIC analysis
IFC financial year Project name Major sector Primary Activity Amount Approval Date
Jul 07-Jun 08 Salamander Energy Plc. Oil and gas off shore production, wells, pipeline, gas processing plant75m 6-Jun-08
Jul 06-Jun 07PGN InvestmentsGasInfrastructure (dist., expansion)50m05-Sep-06
Fossil fuel-based power generation
Jul 06 - Jun -7 PT Makmur Sejahtera Wisesafossil fuel-based power generation coal fired plant121.8m21-Jun-07

INFID: no benefit from Bank projects

Research by the International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) has found that there were no benefits for the people from three projects studied: the Railway Efficiency Project, The Kecamatan [sub-district] Development Program in South Celebes and the post-tsunami Reconstruction of the Aceh Land Administration System (RALAS). The results were distributed to CSOs attending a World Bank Asia-Pacific Workshop which was held in Jakarta on 18 - 20 June 2008. Instead of bringing benefits, the projects increased Indonesia's foreign loan burden. The reports can be downloaded from

1 Press Release, 16/Jul/08. For more information go to the Climate Justice Now! website at
2 See DTE 71 CDM box and DTE 69
3 See DTE 76-77 and DTE 74.
4 Reaction from Indonesia, Philippines, Canada, Benin, Uganda, South Africa and Japan 8/Jul/08.
5 World Bank press release 1/Jul/08. See also DTE 76-77- for further background on these funds.
6 G8 statement on Environment and Climate Change at
7 See DTE 76-77
8 BIC Update 23/Jul/08,
9 Avoiding Deforestation and Degradation: Walking the tightrope to success, May 2008 Climate Change and Forests Briefing Note by Richard Wainwright.
10 BIC, as in 8.
11 INFIDS's Short News Overview 27/Jun/08.

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