May 2, 2018

Asian civil society groups score ADB for dirty energy funding, past and present

“While the Asian Development Bank likes to portray itself as a champion of clean energy, committing $2 billion a year to clean energy investments, it still continues to support coal-based power projects.” ADB’s financing of coal projects alone reached $10.735 billion from 2009-2017.”

This was stressed by the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development and the Piglas Pilipinas network, in advance of the ADB consultations with civil society on the draft Strategy 2030, the long-term strategic framework it wants to finalize this year. They pointed out that Strategy 2030 breaks no fresh ground to align the Bank with global climate commitments, and only provides a path for continued fossil fuel funding.

In the Philippines, ADB extended loans of $120 million to construct Korea Electric Power Corporation’s 200-MW coal-fired power plant in Cebu province, and $200 million to rehabilitate Masinloc Power Partners Ltd.’s 600-MW coal-fired thermal power plant in Zambales province. The ADB also approved an equity investment worth $1,054,850 million in the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) project involving a 552-MW coal-fired power plant in Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.

Lidy Nacpil, APMDD coordinator said, “fossil fuel – especially coal – has already been recognized as a key driver of climate change. ADB knows this. ADB also knows that its members are among the most climate-threatened in the world, yet ADB still finances coal and fossil fuel projects in our region”.

She added that ADB’s Energy Policy still allows support of coal mine development if these are for direct use by thermal power plants. She stated further that the policy also allows support of “efficient” and “clean” coal power generation. “So-called ‘efficient’ use of coal for power generation, coal bed methane extraction and coal gasification still greatly contributes to GHG emissions and warming of the planet.”

Part of ADB’s reasons for Strategy 2030 is to align the Bank with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris agreement on climate change and other global development platforms. Sreedhar Ramamurthi of Environics Trust India, a member of the APMDD delegation who will join the ADB consultation, clarified that “Strategy 2030 makes no significant departure from ADB’s previous strategies and makes no new commitments. It also adopts an approach which passes the responsibility to pursue a clean energy direction to individual countries but continues to make funding for fossil fuel available”. He lamented that the pledges made by individual countries under the 2015 Paris Agreement are largely low and thus inadequate to respond to the climate crisis.

Another member of the APMDD delegation, Titi Soentoro of AKSI Indonesia commented “The ADB must be consistent with its claim of commitment to the Paris Agreement, signed by 195 UNFCCC members which aims to stem the worsening impacts of global climate change by limiting temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.”

Ian Rivera of PMCJ and the Piglas Pilipinas network said – “If the ADB is truly serious in aligning with these commitments, Strategy 2030 should explicitly aim for an end to coal financing, chart a swift phase-out of fossil fuel use with just transition and make the shift to cleaner and renewable energy sources.”

Aaron Pedrosa of SANLAKAS expressed the determination and commitment of climate and energy justice activists in Asia to continue to press for the transformation of energy systems in Asia into clean, renewable and democratic systems for people and communities, and challenge institutions such as the Asian Development Bank to stop being obstacles to this process. “Only through a complete transformation of economic and energy systems can we stop climate change and chart a safe, resilient and sustainable future for our people. “

The groups are preparing to send an Open Letter to the Board of Governors of the Asian Development Bank and will urge the President of the ADB to respond to the letter.

  • Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development is a regional alliance of peoples’ movements, community organizations, coalitions, NGOs and networks working for people-centered development, economic and environmental rights and justice.
  • Piglas Pilipinas! is the nationwide campaign for the Philippines to break free from fossil fuels.


For more information, please contact:

  • Chuck Baclagon
    Digital Communications Campaigner East Asia
    [email protected]
  • Malou Tabios Nuera
    Asian Peoples Movement for Debt & Development
    [email protected]