WASHINGTON, D.C. – There’s no shortage of scary stats on the world’s energy needs, particularly for poorer folk. Some 1.6 billion people have no access at all to modern energy services, and 2.5 billion still rely on burning wood and the like for cooking and heating. Developing countries, reckons the International Energy Agency, will need $10 trillion worth of energy investment from here to 2030.
For those worried about global warming, the nightmare is that those trillions will get spent on low efficiency, high pollution technology.
“The investment that takes place in the next ten to 20 years could lock in very high greenhouse gas emissions for the next half-century,” notes the British government’s recently released Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change, “or move the world onto a more sustainable path.”
Pushing for the latter scenario is the International Finance Corporation, the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group. One the IFC’s prime targets at the moment: commercial banks, particularly those in developing economies such as China, India and Central Europe.