Seize Your Power  

World Bank: invest in renewable energy, cut investments in fossil fuels

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A wind farm near La Calahorra in Andalucia, Spain© Global Warming Images / WWF-Canon

The World Bank’s recent masterstroke to limit funding to coal power plants to “only rare circumstances” is a welcome step towards a sustainable energy future. It is one that was long overdue, but we hope it will build momentum and leverage more such critical decisions regarding energy investments for the future and eventually curb runaway climate change. WWF has been thinking what a new approach could be, one that will solve the complex energy puzzle. Read on to find more about our recent thinking and our new renewable energy campaign.

For the last two decades, the global environmental movement has focused on an international climate agreement and emissions targets as the main way to avoid dangerous climate change. Though there have been successes along the way, the UN climate negotiations are stuck: they are not delivering the change we need at anything like the speed at which we need it. Meanwhile, emissions continue to rise and the impacts of climate change continue to mount.

Clearly, we need a new approach. And WWF gave deep consideration to a new approach as we prepared to launch Seize Your Power, our global campaign on renewable energy in June this year.

Why renewable energy?

Energy is key to development and to powering the lives people aspire to live. But over the last few years, the energy sector has emerged as the main culprit – as well as the main solution – for global climate change.

Most climate-changing pollution now comes from burning fossil fuels. Extraction of fossil fuels is also increasingly threatening biodiversity. At the same time, renewable energy provides a straightforward, proven and increasingly affordable solution, with far fewer direct impacts.

Getting a future where our economies are powered by renewable energy is within reach.

A world shift to renewable energy is more possible now than it was just five years ago. New renewable energy electricity investments surpassed oil, coal and gas for the first time in history.

Solar power is quickly becoming competitive with coal in parts of India and wind power is cheaper than coal in Australia. Economies around the world have committed to 100% renewable energy.

In our campaign, Seize Your Power, we call on financial institutions to significantly increase their funding of renewable energy and cut funding to fossil fuels.

We challenge government and financial institutions to commit an additional US$40 billion for renewable energy by 2017 and not to invest in fossil fuels, particularly coal.

Many other NGOs, movements and coalitions are also calling for divestment from fossil fuels. The approach has been defined. Now the action must start.

You can help by showing your support for action: sign the Seize Your Power pledge, now!

Samantha Smith

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