The World Bank Group today announced plans to help developing countries add 30 gigawatts of renewable energy – enough to power 150 million homes – to the world’s energy capacity, bring early warning systems to 100 million people and develop climate-smart agriculture investment plans for at least 40 countries – all by 2020.
These are among a number of ambitious targets laid out in the World Bank Group’s new Climate Change Action Plan, approved today, which aims to accelerate efforts to tackle climate change over the next five years and help developing countries deliver on their national climate plans submitted for the historic climate agreement reached at COP21 in Paris in December last year.
The release of the Climate Change Action Plan comes just two weeks before world leaders officially sign the Paris Agreement in New York. As part of the Paris process, 140 countries working with the Bank Group lodged national climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs.
“Following the Paris climate agreement, we must now take bold action to protect our planet for future generations,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “We are moving urgently to help countries make major transitions to increase sources of renewable energy, decrease high-carbon energy sources, develop green transport systems, and build sustainable, livable cities for growing urban populations. Developing countries want our help to implement their national climate plans, and we’ll do all we can to help them.”
To maximize impact, the Action Plan is focused on helping countries shape national policies and leverage private sector investment. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, aims to expand its climate investments from the current $2.2 billion a year to a goal of $3.5 billion a year, and lead on leveraging an additional $13 billion a year in private sector financing by 2020. As well its own financing, the World Bank also intends to mobilize $25 billion in commercial financing for clean energy over the next five years. The Bank Group will also continue to deepen its work to help countries to put a price on carbon pollution to create incentives for public and private sector decision makers to make the right climate choices.
The Action Plan recognizes that climate change is a threat to efforts to end poverty, and that there is an increasing urgency to protect poor people and poor countries. As part of its response, the Bank Group plans to bring early warning systems to 100 million people across 15 developing countries, and help bring adaptive social protection – social safety nets that can quickly support people affected by a disaster or an economic shock – to an additional 50 million poor people by 2020. At the same time, the Bank Group will pilot a new approach in 15 cities that aims to boost urban resilience by integrating infrastructure, land use planning and disaster risk management.
“If we don’t act, climate change threatens to drive 100 million more people into poverty in the next 15 years,” said John Roome, Senior Director for Climate Change at the World Bank Group. “The Action Plan will allow us to help developing countries more quickly, and in the areas where support is most needed, such as disaster preparedness, social protection, and coastal protection.”
The Action Plan also lays out plans to quadruple funding over five years to make transport systems more resilient to climate change, as well as invest at least US$1 billion to promote energy efficiency and resilient building by 2020. IFC sees a large opportunity for promoting climate-smart urban infrastructure, and its EDGE Green Building Program aims to have a presence in 20 markets over the next 7 years. The World Bank Group will develop climate smart agricultural investment plans for at least 40 countries, design sustainable forest strategies for 50 countries by 2020 and promote climate-informed fisheries management.
The Bank Group will also help “green” the financial sector through a coordinated approach across banking, pensions and capital markets to implement changes needed nationally and globally. It will also create special teams to work with countries to generate a robust pipeline of bankable projects, with a focus on areas like rooftop solar and boosting the growth of distributed solar in Sub-Saharan Africa
The Action Plan aims to deliver on the Bank Group’s commitment – announced in October 2015 – to increase climate financing to potentially $29 billion annually by 2020, with the support of its members.
It also sets out a new approach to take the growing threat of climate change into account across the Bank Group’s operations. Climate risk screening – which is already applied to projects supported by IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries – will be extended across other World Bank operations in early 2017.