Energy and climate advocates alleged 'doublespeak' by ADB on clean energy
A group of Energy and Climate Advocates (ECA) in Quezon City have alleged 'doublespeak' by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on clean energy, as the bank hosts the Asian Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) with USAID and the Korean Energy Agency (KEA) in its Manila Headquarters.
"Despite its professed commitment to 'clean energy', ADB's energy legacy remains to be its funding of fossil fuels, especially coal," said Gerry Arances, Executive Director of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) in a press statement. "To this day, coal-fired power plants in Masinloc, Zambales, in Naga, Cebu, and Calaca, Batangas remain in operation, with its negative effects on the health and livelihood of communities, its increasing cost and decreasing reliability," added the press statement.
Arances also criticized ADB's co-organizers, USAID and KEA, as both the US and South Korea remain adamant supporters of coal despite its apparent endorsement of renewable energy sources. "Governments and investors need to realize that coal is a sunset industry. Continuing to invest in coal-based power, given the current context of falling renewable energy costs and shifting policy landscape in response to the climate crisis, runs the risk of producing stranded assets," said Zeena Manglinong, FDC Executive Director. "If this happens, and there is a great likelihood it will, ordinary citizens might end up paying for the losses associated with them. We must not forget that in the Philippines we are still paying for stranded debt and stranded contract costs under EPIRA," she continued.
"ADB has to decide whether its part of the problem or part of the solution," said Rayyan Hassan of the NGO Forum on the ADB. "ADB, which has been the largest coal financier in the region, has been claiming that it has not done any coal since 2013. But the truth is that ADB continues to also finance in fossil fuel related transmission infrastructure such as gas pipelines and railways leading to coal mines. It has also continued to proliferate gas power plants in the region especially in Myanmar and Bangladesh."
"With expanding energy markets and investments unparalleled in any region of the world, Asia holds now in balance the world's future on climate change," said Philippine Movement for Climate Justice Ian Rivera. "Asia is a region which is home to many climate vulnerable countries but also hosts governments welcoming dirty energy projects which further worsen the climate crisis," said Rivera.
The groups remain dissatisfied with the promised $7 Billion worth of "clean energy investments" from companies to be mobilized by the ADB and USAID, as per the agreement they signed last Tuesday. The group demanded the financial institutions and the ADB an immediate phase-out of coal projects. It also calls on the dedication of financing to renewables owned and managed by consumers themselves.
NOTE: This story is based on a press release submitted by Energy and Climate Advocates (ECA) to the Devdiscourse. The Devdiscourse could not independently verify the facts and figures mentioned in the communique. The opinions expressed are the personal views of the author.