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Today, people in major cities around the world gathered at World Bank headquarters to protest the World Bank's huge investments in new fossil fuel projects. In London and Paris, protesters walked slowly, dragging along the ball-and-chain of CO2 that was attached to them. The World Bank, one of the worlds major financial institutions, is now turning its greedy eyes towards climate change – offering to solve a problem it is unabashedly causing. All around the world today people gathered outside their headquarters declaring: “Free Us From Fossil Fuels”.

When we think about the future of our planet's climate, our minds can go in any direction. We can imagine the eggplants grown in a clean, just and happy global society or we can just as easily imagine the black air of a cycle of energy wars, famine and massive human migrations. The future we end up with, is the future we create today – and the World Bank is one major player trying to lock us into rising CO2 levels, rising seas and rising inequality.

 

Since the recent UN Climate Change talks in Cancun, the World Bank has been offered a temporary 3-year stint as manager of the Green Climate Fund. This fund has been applauded by many of the world's poorest nations, as it begins immediately to provide money to help developing countries adapt to climate change and its impacts. The Banks role is to help manage and distribute these funds. However, their involvement as manager of the fund complicates things because they are, after all, a bank. Banks don't give out money, they lend it and often with many strings attached.

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sites/all/files/free_us_from_fossil_fuels.jpgJust like any bank, the World Bank invests the money it has been given to generate (huge) profits. One of the reasons the World Bank was selected to manage this fund, was because of their hight rate of return when investing their money into private projects. However, when you look at the World Bank's record you realize that much of these high investment returns come from investments in new fossil fuel projects! So you have the World Bank investing millions of dollars of public money into new private fossil fuel projects to generate money to fight climate change? What?!??! Just look at the numbers: the World Bank's fossil fuel lending has increased 400% since 2006! Since 2007 the World Bank Group has provided $6.6 billion for coal-based energy development. Are these really the people we want to be holding the purse strings on the global Green Climate Fund?

 

As the protesters walked with their symbolic ball-and-chain. They weren't just chaining themselves to CO2, like the World Bank that is binding itself to the fossil fuel industry. They were attaching themselves to the future. The decisions we make today steer the course of action for tomorrow and the World Bank is looking to lock our future to the fossil fuel industry. Tell them get their greedy hands out of our future and out of our climate. Get involved online today: you can Tweet @WorldBank using the hashtag #WBDayOfAction, you can comment on the World Bank's blog, or you can post a message on the World Bank's Facebook page. Or for more information on the role of International Financial Institutions in climate finance, take a look at The Bretton Woods Project

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