Following the Warsaw Climate Conference in mid-November, the African Development Bank (AfDB) got involved in an argument over whether coal is “clean energy” with bank experts. The AfDB is the biggest finance source for clean energy projects on the African continent which has investment of about 3.2 billion EUR in less-polluting technologies. The investment package is bigger than the one of its main competitor – the World Bank – by a billion. Opponents, however, claim that deducing gas out of the clean energy balance would lessen the total amount of this investment.
Voices mount that gas – although it produces about a half of the emissions generated by traditional sources – is still not clean enough to be considered a green energy source. In 2010, almost 90 percent of all AfDB’s financing went on green projects, which included also gas. Currently, there is big discourse on what is actually environment-friendly. Apparently, even the use of hydro power is debated since this source of energy also generates carbon dioxide.
According to Stephan Singer, the chief of the global energy policy at the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), gas definitely does not belong to green energy sources. Gas is a carbon-polluting fuel, though it is indeed cleaner than oil or coal. Yet, this should not be sufficient for the international banks such as AfDB or the World Bank to claim it green.
The finding that gas is not universally accepted as green source of energy might be troublesome given the goal of the United Nations to ensure the access to energy for all by 2030, which as privately acknowledged, may be difficult to be implemented sustainably. The fact is, however, than about one fifth of the world’s population do not have access to electricity and a billion lacks staple supplies, which are sometimes even health- or life-threatening.