BAKU, Azerbaijan, June 30
By Nargiz Sadikhova - Trend:
Asian Development Bank needs to introduce emissions performance standards (EPS) if it wants to further protect the environment, Executive Director at NGO Forum on ADB, Rayyan Hassan told Trend.
On May 7, 2021, Asian Development Bank (ADB) through its draft energy policy announced that it will not finance any coal mining, oil, and natural gas field exploration, drilling, or extraction activities, and it will no longer finance any new coal-fired capacity for power and heat generation or any facilities associated with new coal generation.
Commenting on the question what else can development banks do in order to protect the environment, Hassan emphasized that currently the biggest environmental problems are dioxide pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Secondly big infrastructure projects by development banks such as ADB and AIIB have had intense adverse impacts on ecosystems and livelihoods of local communities.
Aside from the weak implementation of environmental and social safeguards the ADB is also guilty of exacerbating climate change through increased GHG emissions. “So on one side you have methane which is a big pollutant, and on the other you have carbon dioxide which also is a big pollutant. All of them come from burning fossil fuels and ADB not only does coal plants, but also does gas power plants and pipelines which lead to further emissions. ADB also does incinerator projects, which means they can even take plastic waste and burn it to produce electricity, which you can imagine will release vert harmful chemicals into the atmosphere,” he said.
Thus, Hassan expressed opinion that if ADB, being a 50 years old development bank in Asia, wanted to protect the environment, the first thing it needs to do is - it needs to have an emission performance standard and secondly very strong environmental and social policy standards and regulations.
“With emission performance standards the bank will not finance projects that are going to produce harmful emissions gases over a particular limit. So what is that limit going to be? - I think that is the golden question,” Hassan said.
He recalled European Development Bank’s (EIB) recent adoption of its new energy policy as an example.
“Last year the EIB adopted a new energy policy where they put an emissions performance standard at 250 grams of carbon dioxide per KWh of electricity produced. And if you do that, then you practically eliminate most gas and coal financing. I am not saying that ADB should do 250. Personally, I would want ADB to do 200 gm/KWh or even less, but the general idea is you want to get ADB to drastically eliminate greenhouse emissions from its projects so our planet stays cool and we do not offshoot the Paris 1.5 degree agreement,” Hassan concluded.
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