The World Bank: Transitions at the Heart of Climate Change
In this article, the World Bank Group explains how it is increasing its financing to help countries address the pandemic and climate change. A forthcoming five-year Climate Change Action Plan will support transformative investments in key sectors that contribute the most to global greenhouse gas emissions. Low-carbon transitions in energy, transport, cities, manufacturing and food are expected to generate trillions of dollars of investment and millions of new jobs over the next decade. Below, are excerpts from the World Bank’s outline of their proposed plan to assist low-middle income countries in the transition to a low carbon economy.
Powering a Clean Energy Transition
The transition to renewable energy could create over 200 million net new jobs by 2030 in 24 major emerging market economies if they focus on green investments this decade.
But to clean up energy systems, it will be especially important to drive action in decarbonizing the power sector by expanding support for renewables, making power more reliable in a world where outages cost $185 billion per year in low- and middle-income countries, supporting countries in the transition from coal, scaling up energy efficiency, and eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, while expanding energy access. In the last five years, the World Bank Group invested $13 billion in improving energy efficiency.
Today, transport accounts for a quarter of the world’s energy Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. The urgent transformation of transportation will require developing climate-resilient public transport, reforming policies and regulations, shifting freight to lower carbon options, investing in energy-efficient equipment, supporting the transition to e-mobility.
The World Bank Group is supporting public transport systems, such as bus rapid transit and metros, electric vehicles and buses, non-motorized options such as walking and bicycles, and the greening of government fleets.
Creating Sustainable Cities
A more sustainable world will need more sustainable cities. By 2050, over 70% of people on this planet will call cities home.
Shaping a low-carbon, resilient urban transition will entail developing transit systems, better water supply and sanitation services, clean energy, circular economies that recycle waste, and improving energy efficiency through higher construction standards or retrofitting existing buildings. The Bank will also help cities and towns access more financing, along with tools and support to integrate risk in urban planning and land use.
The production of base materials such as chemicals, steel and cement, will require new technologies, such as electrification, to rapidly and affordably transition to low-carbon development. The World Bank will assist countries in developing policies that promote low-carbon and resilient growth while making them more competitive. IFC and MIGA will apply low-carbon principles to investments in heavy manufacturing and assess climate-related drivers in projects without financing any new coal-fired power plants.
A Green Transition for Agriculture, Food and Land Use
A thriving food system will be needed to feed a projected 9.7 billion people by 2050. But today’s unsustainable agricultural production practices cause high GHG emissions, forest and biodiversity loss, land degradation, water depletion, pollution, and disease. To tackle food insecurity and protect forests, climate-smart agriculture and nature-based solutions will need to be scaled up. The World Bank Climate Change Lead Economist Stephane Hallegatte made the point that “New technologies play a key role, and they need to receive more support because R&D in agriculture is small compared with the importance of the topic”.
In conclusion, Richard Damania, World Bank Chief Economist for Sustainable Development, argues that "the choices governments make today on how they restart their economies after Covid-19 will have long-term consequences that will shape their development for decades".
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