Recourse urges ADB to drop support for gas and back 1.5 degrees climate goal in new Energy Policy


Recourse reiterated its demands for the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) revised Energy Policy to be fossil free and climate proof, as the multilateral development bank (MDB) closed its second round of comments on the draft policy. It urged ADB to play a leadership role in shifting development finance toward a more sustainable path, to align with the Paris Agreement and its goal of keeping global warming to below 1.5°C.

The urgency to strengthen the policy and commit to the 1.5°C goal has never been clearer. IPCC’s latest report, dedicated specifically to that goal, warns that this threshold could already be breached within 20 years and calls for an immediate strengthened global response. Despite these stark words, while including several references to the Paris Agreement, ADB’s draft policy continues to exclude any mention of the 1.5°C goal.

Though the ADB has now ruled out support for coal power, it continues to push gas as a transition fuel. This runs counter to recent analysis by the International Energy Agency, which states that “there is no need for investments in new fossil fuel supply”, including “no new oil and natural gas”. Several other loopholes must also be closed in the draft policy.

Recourse’s submission outlines a number of recommendations for how ADB’s Energy Policy can be strengthened, including for it to:

  • Explicitly spell out ADB’s commitment to align all its activities with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal, and commit to a review of the policy by no later than 2023.
  • Extend the coal exclusion to coal-related infrastructure, in line with MDB best practice, and close any loopholes for coal support, including coal for industrial use.
  • Strengthen the language on a “just transition” and include references to international rights-based standards.
  • Commit to phasing out oil and gas with a clear timeline, in line with MDB best practice, such as recent commitments by EIB.
  • Include robust exclusions for fossil fuels – including coal, oil and gas – that apply to both its direct and indirect lending; and include associated facilities and infrastructure such as transmission lines, roads, and ports.
  • Require ADB to publish the name, sector and location of all high and medium risk projects it supports through financial intermediaries, to enable public tracking and assessment of ADB’s fossil fuel commitments.
  • Ramp up support for energy access for all through investments in clean, renewable energy solutions, not fossil fuels.
  • Specify clear targets and timelines for its contribution to achieving energy access for all, including sub-targets for gender and vulnerable groups, and commit to stakeholder engagement and consultation.
  • Focus on affordability and reach for those most vulnerable, rather than a bias for private sector and market-based options.
  • Commit to reviewing the Energy Policy by no later than 2023, and ensure the consultation is public, with clear processes and timelines that are communicated widely to relevant stakeholders in relevant languages in a timely manner.

Finally, Recourse expressed disappointment about the consultation’s lack of outreach in Asia and strongly encouraged ADB to rectify this as a matter of urgency, including efforts to reach affected communities for their input and views.  Recourse’s submission should be read in conjunction with other inputs, in particular those of civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations in, such as a submission from NGO Forum on ADB, which Recourse supports.

Read the full submission here.