The World Bank is still failing to take climate change into account as it makes decisions about the projects it finances, according to a new report from the nonprofit World Resources Institute. The impacts of climate change were only taken into consideration in a quarter of all projects the bank approved between January 2012 and June 2013.
World Resources Institute looked at a selection of projects that would reasonably be expected to undergo some sort of climate impact assessment. The World Bank has in recent years put a greater emphasis on climate change under its new president, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, and argued in a landmark 2013 report that climate change "could seriously undermine poverty alleviation in many regions." But as WRI's report finds, 75 percent of projects still include no assessment of climate risks.
For 88 percent of projects, there was no examination of their likely contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The Bank has been dinged for its continued involvement in projects that support coal-fired power plants, for example.
WRI found that a few of the projects the World Bank invested in would help countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, but said those projects "were the exception rather than the rule."
"The reality is, climate considerations are still something that has yet to make its way into the operational considerations they make," said Clifford Polycarp, deputy director of the sustainable finance program at WRI.