World Bank doubles climate investments to $200 billion

The World Bank Group has doubled its current five-year low carbon investments to around $200bn and today has also announced a new set of climate targets.

The group said both initiatives are designed as a wake-up call to the wider global community to take similar action.

“Climate change is an existential threat to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable — these new targets demonstrate how seriously we are taking this issue,” said World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim.

“We are pushing ourselves to do more and to go faster on climate and we call on the global community to do the same. This is about putting countries and communities in charge of building a safer, more climate-resilient future.”

The $200bn across the Group is made up of approximately $100bn in direct finance from the World Bank and around $100bn of combined direct finance from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and private capital mobilized by the World Bank.

A key focus of the investment is to boost support for climate adaptation, recognizing that millions of people across the world are already facing the severe consequences of more extreme weather events.

“People are losing their lives and livelihoods because of the disastrous effects of climate change,” said World Bank Chief Executive Officer, Kristalina Georgieva. “We must fight the causes, but also adapt to the consequences that are often most dramatic for the world’s poorest people.”

She said the new financing will ensure that adaptation is undertaken in a systematic fashion, and the World Bank will develop a new rating system to track and incentivize global progress. Actions will include supporting higher-quality forecasts, early warning systems and climate information services to better prepare 250 million people in 30 developing countries for climate risks.

In addition, the expected investments will build more climate-responsive social protection systems in 40 countries, and finance climate smart agriculture investments in 20 countries.

“There are literally trillions of dollars of opportunities for the private sector to invest in projects that will help save the planet,” said IFC chief executive Philippe Le Houérou. “Our job is to go out and proactively find those opportunities, use our de-risking tools, and crowd in private sector investment. We will do much more in helping finance renewable energy, green buildings, climate-smart agribusiness, urban transportation, water, and urban waste management.”

The bank said it will continue to integrate climate considerations into its work, including screening projects for climate risks and building in appropriate risk mitigation measures, disclosing both gross and net greenhouse gas emissions, and applying a shadow carbon price for all material investments.

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