ADB’s ‘climate change hypocrisy’ denounced by civil society groups

5 May, Madrid — Asian environmental and human rights groups branded today the Asian Development Bank as a “leading world emitter of climate change hypocrisy” for issuing calls for clean energy investments to fight global warming while extending massive funding support for dirty mega-coal projects in Asia.[1]

“Commercially viable, sustainable energy solutions are ready to be deployed in Asia yet ADB’s money is going to monstrous coal projects such as the 4,000-MW Mundra Ultra Mega coal power project of the Indian corporate giant Tata,” said Red Constantino of the bank watchdog NGO Forum on the ADB. [2] “The ADB is just a giant Asian smokestack spewing gigatons of climate nonsense,” Constantino said.

The ADB executed a loan agreement in April for a $450 million loan to Coastal Gujarat Power Limited (CGPL). The CGPL consortium is a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Power, the largest private power utility in India. Tata Power is part of the global Tata Group conglomerate, which recently acquired luxury car brand Jaguar Land Rover.

Asia‘s share of global greenhouse gas emissions is anticipated to grow to 42 percent by 2030. Currently, coal produces around 42 percent of Asia’s CO2 emissions each year. The ADB is also gearing up to channel financing towards the expansion of biofuel alternatives, increasingly seen today as a major driver aggravating the region’s agricultural and forest crisis.

“Agrofuels are not, cannot and should not be an answer to climate change. Neither are they an answer to strategic rural development needs,” said Longgena Ginting, campaigner of Friends of the Earth-International. “Agrofuels remove land utilized for domestic food production, they promote the expansion of industrial monoculture plantations and they displace entire peasant and indigenous communities merely to provide people in industrialized countries with the illusion that they are using supposedly ‘green’ fuel for their needs,” Ginting said.

The ADB is holding its 41st annual meeting in Madrid amidst the turmoil created by climate change and the region’s food crisis. The ADB’s recently released Long-Term Strategic Framework has been criticized by both NGOs and developing country governments for its failure to prioritize sustainable agriculture development and effective climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.[3]

The NGO Forum on the ADB has been monitoring ADB operations since 1992. It is the largest network of civil society groups and community organizations in Asia. Friends of the Earth-International is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, uniting 70 diverse national member groups and some 5,000 local activist groups on every continent.

For press inquiries please contact:

Jelson (+66-87951023;jgarcia@mekong.bicusa.org), Romil (+63-9166480975;romilhernandez@yahoo.com) or Ronald (+63-9175163843;ronald@forum-adb.org).

[1] http://www.adb.org/Media/Articles/2008/12471-asian-clean-energies/default.asp

[2] See: http://www.adb.org/Media/Articles/2008/12452-indian-electricities-projects/

[3] “Food crises rises to forefront at AsDB sessions,” Marwaan Macan-Markar, Interpress Service, 04 May 2008.  See: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=42226

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