18 July 2013 — The World Bank has confirmed it will only finance coal projects “in rare circumstances”.

In a Energy Sector Directions paper, which will inform the group’s operations going forward, it was agreed that financial support for new greenfield coal power generation projects would only be provided when there were “no feasible alternatives”.

The group said it would scale up its work helping countries develop natural gas markets, as well as support hydropower projects.

“The WBG acknowledges the global challenge of balancing energy for development with its impact on climate change and will help client countries realise affordable alternatives to coal power,” the paper said.

The paper also called for an intensification of “global advocacy”, including encouraging developed countries and emerging markets to price carbon and deploy renewables at scale.

“It’s a pragmatic set of directions for energy development,” said Rachel Kyte, World Bank vice president for sustainable development. “We need to ensure that everyone is reaping the benefits of modern energy by 2030, and we need to do so sustainably. This paper positions us to partner with our countries to realise this vision.”

WBG said they would be focusing on the poor, accelerating efficiency gains, expanding renewable energy and creating an enabling environment.