Tell the AIIB to invest in a clean energy future
Australia is a founding member and sixth largest shareholder in the world’s newest multilateral development bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Australia has an exposure of up to $3.7 billion in the AIIB; public money which can be used to fund a raft of infrastructure-related projects through the bank.
As of September 2018 nearly 30% of AIIB’s US$5 billion dollars’ worth of investments in its first two-and-a-half years had backed fossil fuels. This stands in sharp contrast to its 10% of investment in renewables according to research by non-profit Bank Information Center Europe. It also betrays AIIB President Jin Liqun’s 2016 claim of the bank’s core values as ‘lean, clean and green’.
Disappointingly, despite repeated assurances that it would not back dirty energy, AIIB funded its first coal project via a ‘back door’ financial intermediary in June 2018.
Coal lending loopholes
In June 2017, the development bank released its Energy Sector Strategy, following months of pressure from community groups encouraging the bank to rule out lending to thermal coal projects. Sadly the paragraph dealing with the bank’s treatment of coal was full of loopholes and references to vague stipulations, such as investments needing to be “demonstrably comparable” with a country’s transition to sustainable, low carbon energy, or that oil or coal power plants would have to be “carbon efficient”.
Clearly the policy isn’t strong enough to preclude investments in new coal power stations. But just before the energy sector strategy’s release, AIIB Vice President Thierry de Longuemar said in an interview that “there are things [the AIIB] won’t finance, like coal-fired power plants”. Then, in front of the bank’s Board of Governors, President Jin Liqun said “there are no coal projects in our pipeline, and we will not consider any proposals if we are concerned about their environmental and reputational impact”.
All of this leaves us in a precarious position. With US$100 billion at its disposal, the AIIB has great power to direct the development of energy across Asia. While the bank’s leaders are making the right noises, its policies leave enough loopholes to allow support for dirty energy developments.
Use the form on this page to send AIIB a message, telling the bank you’re disappointed with its failure to categorically rule out coal power finance, but that you expect the bank to adhere to Mr de Longuemar and Mr Liqun’s promises. We need the AIIB to drive the clean energy future in Asia, not use Australian public money to support dirty fossil fuels.