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Report shows World Bank indirectly funding coal projects in Asia

Despiteits 2013 commitment to end essentially all support for the creation ofcoal-burning power plants, the World Bank has been accused of indirectlyfunding coal projects in Asia, Al Jazeera reported Oct. 3, citing rights advocacygroup Inclusive Development International.

TheWorld Bank's private-sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, isalleged to have indirectly funded 56,127-MW of new coal capacity in Asia,including the 1,360-MW Rampal power station in Bangladesh, said the report,citing IDI.

Theadvocacy group noted that the World Bank turned down support for the project,which is planned to be installed in Sundarbans and could cause adverseenvironmental impact. However, six IFC-financed local banks have reportedlyapproved backing on the project, despite oppositions from theenvironmentalists.  

Thereport also cited the Philippines as one of the IFC's coal funding recipients.Since 2013, the country has received support from IFC-financed banks for atleast 20 of its new coal projects, including the proposed 540-MW LanaoKauswagan power station.

Theproject is expected to commence operations in 2017, and may threaten marine lifeand the livelihoods of fishing communities in nearby Panguil Bay, an inlet inthe Mindanao island, according to the report, citing IDI.

"Whilethe IFC has tried to distance itself from the projects funded by itsintermediaries, the fact is that these banks are brazenly disregarding theIFC's environmental and social requirements," Al Jazeera quoted DavidPred, IDI's managing director, as stating.

IFCspokesman Frederick Jones said the company has already invested more than $15billion in renewable energy and other related areas, but also clarified that itmight still be indirectly exposed to the coal industry as its policy does notprohibit equity clients from funding coal plants, said the report.