A little bit more detail on our campaign to get the World Bank out of fossil fuels.
People in the world's poorest communities need power
They need it to be reliable. But they also need it to be clean and renewable. After all, millions know only too well the impact of climate change.
Lack of electricity is trapping 1.5 billion people across the developing world in poverty. That's a quarter of the world’s population.
It means no light in the evening, limited access to communications, no modern power for their work and schools, no way to safely store medicines.
And this poverty is only getting worse because of the impact global warming is having on the developing world. Those struggling to access energy are also those on the frontline of a changing climate.
Poor people need action on climate change and they need action on poverty. If they had help to gain access to new low carbon sources of energy, they could tackle both of these problems.
Why the World Bank?
The World Bank is the global institution tasked with lifting the poor out of poverty. It provides the main mechanism for distributing rich countries' aid money (including the UK and Ireland's).
Currently, one of its key roles is to provide countries with loans to so that they can build and improve domestic energy production.
For millions of people living in poor communities in 'beneficiary' countries, there is little benefit at all.
What's the problem?
The World Bank is currently reviewing the way it undertakes this work. Suffice to say, so far we've not been impressed.
Its funding for coal power stations has soared 40-fold over the last five years to hit a record high of £2.8 billion in 2010.
However, such plants are focussed on fuelling big business, rather than providing the cheap, renewable energy people living in poverty need.
As Sarah Whittington, Christian Aid'sclimate campaign manager, explains:
'The World Bank's current energy policy consists mainly of large-scale fossil-fuel projects delivered by the private sector, an approach which has often failed to provide energy to poor communities or reduce poverty.
'These projects now threaten to worsen the lives of poor people living in a changing climate by emitting more carbon into the atmosphere.'
So, in South Africa, we have the example of a £2.2 billion Bank loan to Eskom who are building a coal-fired power station that will provide subsidised energy for big business, and yet see local households lucky enough to have access to electricity facing a steep rise in their bills.
Meanwhile the new plant will emit an estimated 25 million tonnes of CO² per year, and damage the air, water and health of local communities.
It's the Eskom experience, which is currently being rolled out across the developing world, that informs Christian Aid’s new campaign to get the World Bank out of funding fossil fuels and into investing in clean, affordable energy for the poor.
‘We can’t stand by while the World Bank puts developing countries further into debt and locks them into reliance on fossil fuels for decades to come,' says Whittington.
‘We need to start by asking our government to make sure the World Bank is using our taxes to help eradicate poverty, not make it worse.’
What does Christian Aid want?
The World Bank is now reviewing the energy projects that it supports in developing countries.
Christian Aid partners from India, South Africa, Peru and Bolivia have been campaigning in Washington, Brussels, London and other European capitals and demanding that rich-country governments support an end to World Bank investment in fossil fuels.
Now is your chance to join campaigners around the world and Christian Aid partners in the fight for climate justice.