29 January 2009

World Bank $6 Billion Climate Funds to Select Nations (Update1)

By Mathew Carr, Bloomberg, Jan. 28 , 2009

The World Bank-managed $6.1 billion Climate Investment Funds will this week select the first developing nations to get grants and loans to help cut greenhouse gases and adapt to climate change.

“Hopefully by Friday we should know, for example, the selection of countries to be funded under the Strategic Climate Fund’s Pilot Program for Climate Resilience,” Robert Bisset, a World Bank spokesman in Washington, said by e-mail. As many as 10 countries may get money.

The program, established in November, will demonstrate how to “integrate climate risk and resilience into core development planning” in low-income nations, according to a document dated Jan. 16 on the Web site of the World Bank.

The $6.1 billion, which will be used for various climate initiatives, was pledged by nations including the U.S., Japan, Germany and the U.K., the World Banksaid in September.

Washington meetings of World Bank officials and experts are taking place to decide how to spend the rich-nation cash a month after developing nations failed to unlock an additional $20 billion to help them adapt to global warming in an appeal at United Nations climate talks in Poland.

Then, nations including India requested that two more types of greenhouse-gas emission credits be made available to back financing for projects to counter the damage of climate change in poorer nations, caused largely by the U.S., Europe and Japan.

The selection of nations for funding by the climate resilience program will be handled by a committee co-chaired by Robin Davies of Australia and Sami Sofan of Yemen. The committee also has members from Bangladesh, Bolivia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Maldives and the U.K.

Forests, Renewables

The program will “deliver programmatic funding at scale in five to 10 highly vulnerable countries,” said a Nov. 6 document.

The World Bank also has programs to curb loss of forests, which absorb carbon dioxide, and boost the use of renewable energy in poor nations.

A so-called Scaling Up of Renewable Energy Program for Low Income Countries (SREP) would spend more than $250 million, according to another Jan. 16document on the World Bank Web site.

“There would not be a sufficient critical mass necessary to justify the setting up of a new program without this overall level of SREP funding commitment,” the Climate Investment Funds document said. “Furthermore, without a critical scale of programmatic investments in a country or sector, conditions needed for transformational change would not take place.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathew Carr in London atm.carr@bloomberg.net


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