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World Bank launches ambitious climate action plan

PTI 08 Apr 2016, 11:26:07 IST

Washington:The World Bank has unveiled an ambitious climate action plan that will help developing countries add 30 gigawatts of renewable energy, bring early warning systems to 100 million people and develop climate- smart agriculture investment plans for at least 40 nations. 

The World Bank has set the target for achieving this by 2020, officials said as they released details of the Climate Change Action Plan, which comes just two weeks before world leaders officially sign the landmark Paris Agreement in New York. 

"Following the Paris climate agreement, we must now take bold action to protect our planet for future generations," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. 

"We are moving urgently to help countries make major transitions to increase sources of renewable energy, decrease high-carbon energy sources, develop green transport systems, and build sustainable, livable cities for growing urban populations. Developing countries want our help to implement their national climate plans and we'll do all we can to help them," he said. 

To maximise impact, the World Bank Action Plan is focused on helping countries shape national policies and leverage private sector investment. 

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, aims to expand its climate investments from the current USD 2.2 billion a year to a goal of USD 3.5 billion a year and lead on leveraging an additional USD 13 billion a year in private sector financing by 2020. 

Apart from its own financing, the World Bank also intends to mobilise USD 25 billion in commercial financing for clean energy over the next five years. 

The Bank Group will also continue to deepen its work to help countries to put a price on carbon pollution to create incentives for public and private sector decision makers to make the right climate choices, a statement said. 

This is a plan that primarily aims supporting countries that the Bank works with, to turn their ambitious commitments that they made in December in Paris, into a reality, John Roome, Bank's Senior Director for Climate Change told reporters during a conference call. 

"It's a plan that aims at swinging the pendulum away from investments in fossil fuels towards investment in clean energy and to put new resources to critical areas like green transport and climate smart agriculture," he said. 

Under the plan, the World Bank would be working on expanding universal access to early-warning systems in the case of disasters, for the goal to provide 100 million more people, in 15 developing countries, with access to these early-warning systems by the year 2020.
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"We are also aiming to provide social protection system, social protection to 50 million more people so that countries have an ability to respond with cash transfers and other forms of support when disasters like floods and droughts hit," Roome said. 

"We are focusing on increasing our support for small-island states, for protecting forests, and working very comprehensively across the board in agriculture. We will be working on 40 climate-smart agriculture investment plans with the countries that we work with," he said. 

"And we'll be looking to increasing funding for things like hybrid seeds that can grow in more adverse climatic conditions, in improving livestock productivity and improving irrigation," he added. 

Roome said the World Bank is working in all parts of the world on renewable energy from India to Africa. 

"We just have two recent operations in India. One, working on a rooftop solar and another one in building industrial parks that will provide the infrastructure for solar plants and the evacuation lines to encourage private sector investors to invest in renewable energy," he said.