Center for American Progress

Consider Greenhouse Gas Emissions in All World Bank Power Projects
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Consider Greenhouse Gas Emissions in All World Bank Power Projects

The World Bank could consider integrating its laudable microcredit and community lending strategies with a focus on community-owned wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects.

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Every energy project financed by the World Bank needs to consider the impact of greenhouse gas emissions—extended to include the so-called life cycle analysis of the energy project on overall health and welfare. Such analysis would not only measure the carbon emissions that come directly out of the power plant, but the carbon expended in the process of building the facility and transporting fuel to it for power generation and expending any waste byproducts.

Compliance with the three previous recommendations would of course demand that this recommendation be embraced as well. But rather than only considering the life cycle analysis of the sources of carbon to produce a given amount of energy the World Bank must work with host countries to integrate solutions that mitigate against high social and health costs.

One example of this process in action is in the state of Wisconsin. The state government requires electricity generation projects to consider a broad set of potential ramifications of greenhouse gases related to air, water quality and quantity, land and soil, wildlife and protected species, agriculture, land use, property values, future development, service reliability, local economic impacts, community service, revenue sharing, transmission and distribution changes, and electricity rates.

Ideally, this kind of assessment by the World Bank would also include an analysis of what type and scale of project would best support the long-term economic health of the community, perhaps by prioritizing community-owned distributed energy systems, which have been shown to create greater local economic benefits than utility-owned projects in some developing countries. The World Bank could consider integrating its laudable microcredit and community lending strategies with a focus on community-owned wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects.

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