Anti-coal group pats ADB's back; here's why

Published May 7, 2021, 8:48 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Clean energy group Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development (CEED) hailed on Friday, May 7 the apparent decision of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to move away from coal, which has long been regarded as a dirty energy source.

(Photo by Wander Fleur / Unsplash)

“Today, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) unveiled the long-awaited draft of its updated energy policy, which, once approved by its Board of Directors by October 2021, would repeal the 2009 energy policy which saw the bank abet the growth of coal and other fossil fuels in developing countries in Asia,” CEED said in a statement.

“We are happy that ADB finally decided to abandon coal once and for all in this draft policy,” said the group, whose executive director, Gerry Arances, is a vocal environmental activist.

CEED said that for years, civil society members have engaged ADB to turn it away from “the destructive impact of its carbon-intensive investments, in view of the rapidly shifting global energy landscape and imperatives posed by the climate emergency”.

“By seeking to ‘support the phase-out of coal fired power plants in the region’, ADB finally recognizes the need to rectify its mistake of causing the suffering of many communities in the Philippines and across Asia through the coal-fired power plants it helped build,” the group said.

But CEED said that the soon-to-be 55-year-old regional development bank must have the immediate and complete phase-out of coal in mind.

“Retrofitting and any allowances for emissions in current projects would defeat the stated objective of the draft policy,” it reckoned.

“We hope other financial institutions would see this announcement from ADB as a sign to follow suit, paving the way for SEA (Southeast Asia) to join the global exodus from coal,” it said.

Despite it welcoming ADB’s draft policy, CEED expressed worries that the bank still intends to support “destructive renewable energy systems like large hydropower plants, which are not ecologically just”.

“The ADB must remove these from its definition of ‘clean energy’,” CEED said.

“We from civil society together with communities from all over the region will continue to assess ADB’s energy directions and push for a policy that fully aligns with the 1.5 degree C Paris Ambition and the respective climate mitigation and adaptation needs of our own nations,” it concluded.