Climate justice and renewable energy advocates, with consumer rights and multisectoral groups today marched in front of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Headquarters during the Asian Clean Energy Forum to protest the Bank’s continued support for coal and other fossil fuel projects in Asia
despite its professed support for “clean energy.”

“The historical role of international finance institutions, particularly the ADB, in fueling climate change by funding dirty energy projects cannot be denied, and cannot be allowed to continue in our country and region,”said Ian Rivera, National Coordinator of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice.

“As the most recent Global Peace Index 2019 showed, the Philippines continues to be among the most threatened – in fact, the most threatened – nation as regards the worsening climate crisis,” Rivera continued. “Allowing them to peddle the lie of ‘clean coal’ is an insult to Filipinos who have and who continue to pay the price of the ADB’s dirty development path fueled by fossils.”

Sanlakas Secretary-General Atty. Aaron Pedrosa decried ADB’s track record in funding “development projects” which have “caused even more suffering than development to the Filipino people.” “ADB has been doing bad business since its creation and it is making a killing both figuratively and literally out of its investment portfolio,” said Atty. Pedrosa. “What we need is a genuine development institution which would supposedly address poverty and misery in the country and in our region. That is what the ADB pretends to be but obviously is not.”

Meanwhile, energy think tanks believe that the Bank moving forward must not only recognize its role in the climate crisis but redirect its funding to renewable energy projects to displace coal in the region.

“Coal can never be clean, nor will it ever be cheap. It is time for ADB to wake up, smell the fumes, and stop burning money on fossil fuels,” said Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) Executive Director Gerry Arances. “The Bank’s Energy Strategy towards 2030 which includes
continued investments in ‘clean coal’ and their emerging investments on ‘natural’ gas, does not inspire confidence both to coal-affected communities and consumers.”

Arances cited the suspicious and abrupt shut down of ADB-backed Masinloc and Calaca coal-fired power plants in Luzon suspiciously and abruptly shut down during the summer season, raising the price of electricity in the area. “We join this mobilization seeking accountability from the ADB as the Bank failed to deliver on the promise of affordable and reliable energy they repeatedly claimed would come from fossil fuels.”

“With coal projects being stranded or shrinking in profitability, consumers will be left to shoulder the increasing cost of operating coal-fired power plants for decades to come. Renewable energy systems operated and managed by communities themselves are more in tune with the call for
clean, affordable electricity,” he stressed.

“ADB has to decide whether its part of the problem or part of the solution,” said Rayyan Hassan of the NGO Forum on the ADB. “ADB, which has been the largest coal financier in the region, has been claiming that it has not done any coal since 2013. But the truth is that ADB continues to also finance in
fossil fuel related transmission infrastructure such as gas pipelines and railways leading to coal mines. It has also continued to proliferate gas power plants in the region especially in Myanmar and Bangladesh.” “We need to know ADB’s phase out plan for their fossil fuels is, and for them to commit to a full ban on all future coal plants,” Hassan continued. ”The Bank must stop aiding and abetting the fossil fuel industry if it wants to be a positive catalyst in reaching the 1.5-degree pathway. Public finance banks have to raise the bar on sending the right signals towards govts and investors.’