Civil Society Statement Calling on the ADB to End Support for Coal  

Signed by 72 organisations from 19 countries on the occasion of the 2014 Asia Clean Energy Forum

The Asian Development Bank has been a major funder of coal-fired power plants globally. Between 1994 and 2012, the institution was the third largest public international financier of coal-fired power plants, investing $3.9 billion in 21 projects.[1] Over the past six years, the institution invested $1.69 billion in five coal plants, including $900 million in the Jamshoro plant in Pakistan and $450 million in the controversial Tata Mundra Ultra Mega Coal plant in the Indian state of Gujarat.[2] The ADB’s continued support for coal is out of step with its stated intention of rapidly increasing investment in clean energy, and with international norms.

Public international financial institutions are increasingly moving away from supporting coal and towards providing crucial investment in clean energy and energy efficiency. In 2013, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development all adopted policies restricting financing for coal plants. This followed an announcement from the Obama Administration that they would work to end US support for coal plants overseas, including at the multilateral development banks. The UK, Nordic countries and the Netherlands have made similar commitments to end support for coal plants overseas.

The science and the need to phase out public support for coal is clear. In September 2013, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the most authoritative global scientific body on climate change – released its Working Group I Fifth Assessment Report, providing undeniable facts on the human causes of climate change and making the fight against climate change more pressing than ever.

We simply cannot afford to continue to burn fossil fuels at the rate we have been: according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), more than two thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves need to stay underground and of that the major portion is coal.[3] In addition, the IEA has stated that to have a 50% chance of staying within a 2°C global temperature rise, only zero-carbon utilities and infrastructure should be developed beyond 2017 since 80% of cumulative emissions allowable between 2010 and 2035 are already locked-into existing power plants, factories, buildings and services.[4]

The impacts of increasingly frequent and more extreme weather events is already being felt in social and financial terms: Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines devastated the lives of millions of people and caused economic losses in the billions of dollars; losses caused to the US economy by 2012’s Hurricane Sandy is estimated at US$65bn; the Midwestern/Plains droughts of the same year caused losses of US$35bn; and the 2014 extreme winter floods in the UK are estimated to have cost British insurers $US 2bn.

We cannot afford to ignore these risks and costs anymore. What climate science requires in term of public finance for energy is very clear: it must urgently be shifted from fossil fuels to renewable energy and energy efficiency. In addition to mitigating climate change, huge co-benefits will materialise, including health benefits from cleaner air[5]; millions of green jobs from clean energy[6]; and improved energy independence.

Coal is the most carbon intensive fossil fuel, accounting for about 72% of electricity-related CO2 emissions[7]. It also has significant public health impacts. Studies done for China, India, EU and the U.S. alone indicate that air pollution emissions from coal-fired power plants are responsible for over 400,000 premature deaths per year globally and millions more affected from serious and minor illnesses.

Consequently, we, the undersigned 71 NGOs from 19 countries, call on the Asian Development Bank to immediately rule out any future support for coal projects. Scarce public resources should not be directed to an outdated technology that will only harm human health and the planet’s climate. As a stated leader in promoting clean energy in the Asia Pacific region, and on this occasion of the 9th Asia Clean Energy Forum, we call on the Asian Development Bank to make a clear commitment to end support for all fossil fuel developments, from extraction, processing, transport to infrastructure and power stations, and in particular and most urgently coal. Our climate and the future of our planet deserve no less than this.

International

Aaron Packard, 350.org

Sanjiv Gopal, Greenpeace International

Ioana Ciuta, CEE Bankwatch Network

Joseph Purugganan, Focus on the Global South

Australia

Aviva Imhof, The Sunrise Project

Dr. David Shearman, Doctors for the Environment

John L Hayes, Correct Planning and Consultation for Mayfield Group

Alan Roberts, Nimbin Environment Centre

Paola Cassoni, Bimblebox Nature Reserve

Rod Campbell, Economists at Large

Belgium

Kris Vanslamboruck, 11.11.11

Xavier Sol, Counter Balance

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Miodrag Dakic, Centre for Environment

Cambodia

Eang Vuthy, Equitable Cambodia

France

Lucie Pinson, Friends of the Earth France

Germany

Regine Richter, urgewald

India

Gautam Bandyopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha

Soumya Dutta, Beyond Copenhagen Collective / Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha

Jesu Rethinam, Coastal Action Network

Nityanand Jayaraman, Chennai Solidarity Group

Babu Rao Kalapala, National Alliance of Peoples Movements

Debi Goenka, Conservation Action Trust

Probir Banerjee, PondyCAN

R.Sreedhar, Environics Trust

Ramesh Agrawal, Jan Chetana

Shweta Narayan, Community Environmental Monitoring, The Other Media

Chaitanya Kumar, 350.org India

Alok Shukla, Janabhivyakti

Ranjan Panda, Water Initiatives Odisha

Ravindranath, River Basin Friends

Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of Peoples Movements (NAPM)

Lakshmi Premkumar, Programme for Social Action

Kishor Rithe, Satpuda Foundation

Tara Murali, Citizen Consumer & Civic Action Group (CAG)

Sudhir Paliwal, Vidarbha Environmental Action Group

Dharmesh Shah, Earth Watch Trust

Ravi Rebbapragada, Samata / Mines, Minerals and People

Dr Ashok Kundapur, International Alternate Energy Trust

Indonesia

Pius Ginting, WALHI

Hendrik Siregar, JATAM

Japan

Yuki Tanabe, JACSES

Kimiko Hirata, Kiko Network

Hozue HATAE, Friends of the Earth Japan

Mongolia

Urantsooj Gombosuren, Center for Human Rights and Development

Myanmar

Wunna Htun, Action Aid Myanmar

The Netherlands

Pieter Jansen, Both ENDS

Pakistan

Sarah Siddiqi, CREED Alliance

M Ali Shah, Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum

Philippines

Rayyan Hassan, NGO Forum on ADB

Ronnel Lim, Partners for Human Progress and Social Development

Josua Mata, SENTRO

Chadwick Go Llanos, Cebu Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Environment

Fr. Max Abalos, SVD, Action for Nurturing Children & Environment, Inc.

Tina Ebro, AEPF

Pamela Torres, United Sibonga Residents’ for Environmental Protection and Development

Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, SANLAKAS

Clemente G. Bautista Jr. Kalikasan PNE

Rovik Obanil, Freedom from Debt Coalition

South Korea

Jee-eun Jun, Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation

Thailand

Witoon Permpongsacharoen, Mekong Energy and Ecology Network (MEE Net)

United Kingdom

Sean Kidney, Climate Bonds Initiative

United States

Stephen Kretzmann, Oil Change International

Amanda Starbuck, Rainforest Action Network

Payal Sampat, Earthworks

Justin Guay, Sierra Club

Karen Orenstein, Friends of the Earth US

Vietnam

Nguy Thi Khanh, GreenID

Ha Thi Quynh Nga, CARE International in Vietnam

Hong Hoang, CHANGE

Do Van Nguyet, Live&Learn

[1] World Resources Institution, Global Coal Risk Assessment, November 2012, p.19

[2] Information obtained from www.shiftthesubsidies.org

[3] IEA World Energy Outlook 2012

[4] IEA World Energy Outlook 2011

[5] World Health Organisation new estimates show that in 2012 around 7 million people died – 1 in 8 of total global deaths – as a result of air pollution exposure. This finding more than doubles previous estimates and confirms that air pollution is the world’s largest single environmental health risk. Much of the burden results from burning of fossil fuels, mainly coal. See http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2014/air-pollution/en/

[6] The renewable industry already employs 5.7 million people globally and the figure is booming. Renewables create 1,9-3,2 times more jobs per million of US$ invested, and 1.5-7.9 times more jobs per unit of electricity produced (GWh). Sources REN21 and Pollin, Heintz and Garret-Peltier, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy.

[7] Foster, Vivien; Bedrosyan, Daron. 2014. Understanding CO2 emissions from the global energy sector. Live wire knowledge note series; no. 5. Washington DC ; World Bank Group. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/2014/02/19120885/understanding-co2-emissions-global-energy-sector