Climate activists and civil society organizations protested at the IMF and World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C, demanding debt cancellation, climate, and colonial reparations, and end support for all new oil, gas, and coal extraction projects.
In 2015, under the Paris Agreement, 196 countries were committed to keeping the world’s average temperature below 2°C before the industrial revolution and preferably below 1.5°C. At COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021, people worldwide, including the youth, indigenous communities, women groups, and civil society organizations, raised their concerns about the devastating impacts of climate change and cried out to phase out fossil fuel energy. Coal, oil, and gas are considered primary sources of rising emissions of greenhouse gases causing global warming.
The global temperature is reaching a critical point of 1.1 °C, according to the UN IPCC report released in 2021. It is “a red code” alarm for humanity, said the UN Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres. The global warming causing climate crisis already has dire consequences, including intense droughts, water scarcity, severe fires, rising sea levels, flooding, melting polar ice, catastrophic storms, and declining biodiversity. Recent natural disasters have affected millions of people worldwide, such as floods in Pakistan, Ian Hurricane in the United States, summer heatwaves in Europe, and super typhoon Rey in the Philippines.
Scientists suggest phasing out fossil fuels to mitigate climate change and avoid climate breakdown. This means no more conducting new fossil fuel extraction projects and redoubling efforts to a just energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro, tidal, geothermal, and biomass energy.
Rather than phasing out the dirty energy of coal, gas, and oil causing climate chaos, the World Bank has financed 14,8 billion U.S. dollars for fossil fuels since the Paris Climate Agreement. According to NGO analysts, the most prominent world finance institution has provided $12 billion U.S. dollars in direct project finance for fossil fuels in over 35 countries, pushing them into a further debt trap.
For People and Planet Action
At the Annual Meeting of the IMF and World Bank held in Washington, D.C., in October 2022, a global coalition of activists and organizations protested and tried to disrupt the meeting. Under the slogan “For People For Planet Decarbonize Decolonize,” national and international civil society organizations, including VIVAT International, conducted a march and rally on 12-14 October at the IMF and World Bank headquarters offices.
They demand to unconditionally cancel all debts owed to the IMF and World Bank and end support for new oil, gas, and coal extraction transport and use projects. They also urged the Global North countries to pay reparations for past and ongoing climate wrongdoing.
This campaign continues to happen, and COP27 at Sharm el-Sheikh next month is a historic opportunity to raise these critical voices.