World Bank

Greenhouse Gas Abatement and Climate Change

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Courtesy of World Bank

This note describes the World Bank’s involvement in efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and to promote energy efficiency.

The objective of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) is to achieve 'stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.'

The Convention is also founded on the principle of 'common but differentiated responsibilities.' Commonality refers to the need of all nations to assume responsibility for the protection of the global atmosphere, and the recognition that developing country greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will exceed those from the industrialized nations within the coming generations.

Differentiation is predicated on the scientific fact that the industrialized countries are responsible for the bulk of the present atmospheric stock of greenhouse gases, and the realization that developing countries are least able to bear the costs of greenhouse gas mitigation and are most vulnerable to climate change effects.

Commitments of Bank Borrower Countries

The Convention does not impose mandatory emission restrictions on developing countries, whereas it does call on developed country Parties to limit their anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Bank’s borrower countries who are Parties can be broadly classified in three categories: (a) Annex I Economies-in-Transition in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union; (b) Developing Countries; and (c) Least-Developed Countries. As noted above, a further distinction is with respect to the particularly vulnerable developing countries. Operational implications of this categorization are highlighted in Table 1.

Principles of Bank Group Assistance

The World Bank Group’s role is to help finance sustainable development. The Bank Group provides a substantial capacity to assist its client countries to implement their commitments under the Convention. In the case of the FCCC, the Bank will both ensure that its activities are consistent with the Convention, and will actively support its member countries in building capacity and undertaking investments for its implementation. Global environmental externalities can be recognized at the project level, and increasingly also in economic and sector work and in national Environment Action Plans. Where appropriate, country assistance strategies also include global environmental issues.

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