US Congress Nixes Funding for World Bank Coal Fund

A succession of good news on climate from Washington last week. Obama's proposed budget includes a carbon cap with full auctioning of allowances and most of the proceeds rebated directly back to taxpayers; Democratic leaders announced they would switch the Capitol Power Plant - the number one source of air pollution in DC - from coal to gas (see here and here); and the House of Representatives passed an omnibus spending bill which nixes funding for a World Bank fund that would promote new coal plants in the name of fighting climate change (rather like pushing dams to protect rivers).

Brent Blackwelder, president of Friends of the Earth, US  (a founder of International Rivers and, I'm delighted to say, a new member of our board of directors) explains that the World Bank's so-called Clean Technology Fund (CTF):

"undermines efforts to set up better climate financing mechanisms under an international treaty, and it could finance dirty energy projects such as coal. If the World Bank wants to seriously address global warming, it would do well to look at its own carbon footprint; the Bank has increased fossil fuel lending by 94% from 2007 to 2008, including a 256% increase in coal lending."

Kudos to FoE who have been at the forefront of efforts to get Congress to zero out funding for the CTF.

International Rivers was one of the signatories to a February 12 letter initiated by FoE to Congressional leaders urging them not to fund the CTF.

Last week's trifecta of good news should provide a great boost to the thousands of activists converging on Capitol Hill tomorrow, March 2, for "Capitol Climate Action," billed as the "largest mass civil disobedience for the climate in U.S. history." International Rivers is one of the scores of organizations endorsing the action.