Groups urge ADB to jumpstart Asia’s transition to clean energy

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Civil society groups urged the Asian Development Bank to jumpstart Asia’s energy transition by decarbonizing its energy investments portfolio ahead of the ADB Annual Governors’ Meeting.

The call was made in a webinar and publication launch on Friday, where the groups said “leaving behind ADB’s dirty energy legacy” should begin with a formal ban on coal investments.”

“Thanks to the lenient energy policy it adopted in 2009, ADB is guilty of having shaped Asia’s energy sector into its carbon-intensive state today. No amount of renewable energy investments could cover up the bank’s role in advancing the myth of clean coal and the fact that half of the total installed capacity of power generation projects it funded the past decade are from fossil fuels,” Gerry Arances, executive director of the Center for Energy, Ecology and Development said in a statement.

Arances said that with the worsening climate crisis, deteriorating air quality, increasing viability of renewable energy and environmental and economic imperatives highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic on the need for a green recovery, the imperative to decarbonize is clear.

“The critical reflections we from civil society offer today mirror what the bank’s Independent Evaluation Department reported: that ADB needs a new energy policy that accurately responds to the region’s needs. In doing so it must live up to its role in global energy transformation, which it can begin by completely leaving coal in its dirty past,” Arances said.

Prior to its release, the publication has been used by CEED and NGO Forum on ADB, a network of over 250 civil society organizations across Asia, in engaging the bank’s energy decision-makers towards a transition away from coal and other fossil fuels.

“The Taal volcano eruption, Australian forest fires, floods in Pakistan and Bangladesh and the typhoons in the USA all struck within a span of seven months amid COVID-19. If there ever was a time to be climate responsible for ADB, it is now,” said Rayyan Hassan, executive director of NGO Forum on ADB.

Forum representatives Vidya Dinker of Growth Watch in India, Hasan Mehedi of Coastal Livelihood and Environmental Action Network in Bangladesh and Richard Kahulugan of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice joined the webinar to express a unified call for an end to ADB’s advancement of dirty energy in their countries.

“The ADB IED Evaluation on ADB’s Energy Policy recommends ending coal power for Asia-Pacific. We as NGO Forum on ADB demand that the ADB Board of Directors and ADB Senior Management take heed of this recommendation and act swiftly towards an immediate end on all coal and coal-related power and forge towards a just transition to limit global temperature rise to the Paris goal of 1.5°C. ADB must end coal, and end it now. We are out of time,” said Hassan.

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