Internal Review Dings World Bank’s Funding of Massive Coal Plant

Photo by Kate Sheppard

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


I have a new article up today about Kusile, a new coal-fired power plant in South Africa that was funded in part by a loan from the US Export-Import Bank. In it, I also mentioned Medupi, a similar plant that is under construction in northern South Africa that was funded by a $3.75 billion loan from the World Bank.

But a recent report from the World Bank’s internal inspector that the bank did not adequately evaluate the environmental impacts of the plant before approving the loan to Eskom. The panel found that “the magnitude of emissions from Medupi far outweighs emissions avoided” through mitigation measures, the report concludes. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, it also cites “significant shortcomings” in the bank’s consideration of water consumption, particulate pollution, or the impact on local communities. Nor were the impact of additional mines that would likely need to be created to feed the plant adequately considered.

The report didn’t find that funding the plant violated bank rules on greenhouse gas emissions, but that’s because the bank doesn’t have clear climate targets, as Energy & Environment reporter Lisa Friedman noted earlier this month.

The report was issued after South African environmental groups requested an investigation. The report was covered in the local press on Friday (link is in Afrikaans, you’ll have to pop it into Google Translate).

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate