World Bank unveils $200 bln fund to combat climate change
The World Bank on Monday announced to infuse 200 billion U.S. dollars to tackle global warming, doubling its current investment plan, and deciding to deal with adaptation and low emission projects equally.
The financial commitment comes when delegates from more than 184 countries are meeting in Katowice, Poland, for the annual climate change summit, COP24.
The ramped up investment for 2021-2025 would be "sending an important signal to the wider global community to do the same," said a World Bank statement.
For the first time, World Bank has decided to give "equal emphasis" to both adaptation and low emission projects under the investment plan. Adaptation efforts help mitigate the effects of rising temperature like frequent extreme weather events and related crises.
The investment will fund projects such as early warning systems for floods, storms, and other natural disasters. These projects will benefit 250 million people in 30 developing countries facing high climate risks.
Additionally, developing social protection systems in 40 countries, and financing climate-smart agriculture investments in 20 countries would be a part of the plan. The decision raises hope among millions of farmers in developing countries, facing crop yield losses due to either frequent droughts or floods.
"This is why we at the World Bank commit to step-up climate finance to 100 U.S. billion dollars, half of which will go to build better-adapted homes, schools and infrastructure, and invest in climate-smart agriculture, sustainable water management, and responsive social safety nets," said Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank's chief executive officer.
Providing the investment break-up, officials maintained 100 billion U.S. dollars comes directly from the World Bank, and another half will be mobilized from other sources.
"Climate change is an existential threat to the world's poorest and most vulnerable," said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, adding that "These new targets demonstrate how seriously we are taking this issue."
Climate finance has become a critical component for developing countries to counter the effects of rising temperature. In 2009, at the Copenhagen climate summit, developed countries had committed to raising 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2020 to help developing countries deal with the effects of extreme weather events. The promise remains unfulfilled.
The bank's decision comes to invest heavily in adaptation projects comes as a major relief to developing nations grappling for climate funds for years.
"People are losing their lives and livelihoods because of the disastrous effects of climate change. We must fight the causes, but also adapt to the consequences that are often most dramatic for the world's poorest people," said Georgieva.
(Top photo: World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva addresses during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland December 3, 2018. /VCG Photo)