International banks like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which use Australian taxpayer dollars to support developing countries, have clandestinely pumped nearly $33 billion over five years into polluting projects all over the world, a new report finds.
Australia’s share of this funding was $828 million.
But all this could change if Australia signed the ‘Glasgow Statement’, which nations like the US, UK Germany and even Zambia have already inked, putting a hand-brake on their taxpayer dollars going to international polluting projects and redirecting that funding to the clean energy revolution.
Should Australia sign it could help tip the balance in bodies like the World Bank where 45% of shareholders have already signed up. Australia owns 2% of the body.
Australia is the 5th largest shareholder in the ADB and 6th largest in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, if Australia pushed internally for a ‘renewables only’ investment policy it could be one of the final dominos to fall leading to a permanent change in the policies of these banks.
If current signatories to The Glasgow Statement implemented it globally it could move $42 billion in international public financing for fossil fuels toward clean energy each year.
Luke Fletcher, Executive Director of Jubilee Australia Research Centre, says Australia signing the Glasgow Statement sends an important message to other countries who are continuing to invest in polluting projects.
“Australia setting an example, especially in our region, could tip the balance when it comes to funding new renewable projects now and into the future,” says Luke Fletcher.
“In Bangladesh Australian taxpayer dollars are being used to fund the gigantic 584 megawatt Unique Meghnaghat gas power station even though one third of existing power generation isn’t being used. It just doesn’t add up.
“It’s incredible Australian taxpayer dollars are being used to fund fossil fuel power generation in Bangladesh while Bangladeshis are feeling the impacts of hotter summers, droughts and floods.
“A powerful cyclone just hit the country this week and tens of thousands of people have been evacuated.
“It just doesn’t pass the pub test, when we are shutting our own coal power plants down.
Michelle Higelin from ActionAid says if Australia signs on the dotted line it could help drive more investment in renewable energy the world over.
“The climate crisis is having a devastating impact on women in the Asia-Pacific.
“Women on the frontlines of the climate crisis are struggling to access clean water and food because of increased floods and droughts. Women are more likely to die in climate disasters. Australia needs to make sure that precious taxpayer dollars don’t help make the climate crisis worse.”
“As a key shareholder in multilateral development banks like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, by signing the Glasgow Statement, Australia could join peers like the US and the UK and help catalyse greater global support for renewable energy.”