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Bankwatch Mail | May 14, 2012

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 80 percent of the cumulative CO2 that can be emitted between 2010 and 2035 if the world is to have a chance of keeping the global mean temperature rise below 2°C is already “locked-in” to existing capital stock. For a 2°C scenario, all investments after 2017 will need to be in zero-carbon utilities, unless existing infrastructure is scrapped before the end of its economic lifespan.

Bankwatch Mail | May 14, 2012

Following the EBRD's controvesial adoption in 2010 of a 'calibrated strategic approach' to guide its activities in the totalitarian state of Turkmenistan, annual discussions between the bank and civil society organisations have been taking place, with the most recent last month.

Bankwatch Mail | May 14, 2012

For ‘development’ activists used to fighting the excesses of project finance, it’s a bizarre shift. Instead of touting the usual dams and mines, in recent years ‘development’ banks have gone a step further: giving money directly to hedge funds, private equity firms and financial intermediaries, the croupiers of casino capitalism who almost ruined the world economy back in 2007-8 and are well on their way to ruining it properly this time around.

Bankwatch Mail | May 14, 2012

A new greenfield gas cogeneration power plant Cogen in the north of Slovakia is planned to produce power and heat. It is to be financially supported by both the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development through the private equity EnerCap Power Fund.

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Bankwatch Mail | May 14, 2012

Issue 52 of our quarterly newsletter is a special double edition as this week sees the annual meetings of two of our target institutions, the EIB and the EBRD. Both banks are attracting widspread coverage: the EIB for its potential role in a belated EU-wide drive for growth; the EBRD as it prepares to extend its operations beyond central and eastern Europe into the North Africa region and as it decides on a new president.

Briefing | May 14, 2012

The rehabilitation of Kiev-Chop road project that received support from the EBRD and the EIB (each EUR 200 million) was supposed to rehabilitate the M06 Kiev-Chop Highway to European standards. Although the project was rated Category B (without significant adverse environmental impacts) it has seriously affected the life of the villagers of Bolyarka and Berezivka (Vasilivsky district, Zhitomir region) that are located along the rehabilitated road.

The briefing is based on a letter sent to the EBRD's Environmental Department in April 2012.

Advocacy letter | May 12, 2012

The letter, sent shortly before the European Investment Bank's annual meeting, calls on EIB governors to improve the EIB's lending before increasing its capital base as a response to the European crisis. The letter argues that in order to offer a long term solution, EIB backed projects should be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable. Right now this is not the case.

Briefing | May 12, 2012

Linked to a slew of controversies, the Kolubara lignite mining project in Serbia is in line for support from European public banks. Corruption allegations, pollution at local level, irregularities in resettlement of local populations and not to forget a climate damaging approach to energy investments should be reason enough to find alternative options.

Briefing | May 9, 2012

The project Boskov Most HPP involves the construction of a 33 m high dam and a hydro power plant with a total capacity of 68MW. It is mostly located in the territory of the Mavrovo National Park, one of the oldest and most valuable protected areas in the country.

Since this is only one of many hydropower projects planned in the country, civil society organisations are calling for an assessment of the cumulative effect of all HPPs planned in the Mavrovo National Park before any further steps are taken.

Briefing | May 9, 2012

In recent years Georgia’s government has sought to position the country as a future regional renewable energy hub. Governmental plans include the construction of transmission lines and numerous hydropower plants (HPPs), in order to ensure electricity exports to Turkey and subsequently to gain access to the south-east European market by 2015-2017. The number and technical design of the planned HPPs do not comply with the principles of sustainable development, and they are bound to have serious negative impacts on the environment.

Policy comments | May 7, 2012

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has developed draft methodologies in order to assess project greenhouse gas emissions from its projects. Bankwatch's comments provide recommendations on how to improve the methodology used in order to support the EU’s climate goals. Our comments primarily focus on how baselines are set and the treatment of scope 3 emissions. The document also discusses the way in which we believe the bank needs to use the outcomes from its GHG calculations.

Policy comments | May 6, 2012

One of Bankwatch's main concerns with the EBRD's municipal and environmental infrastructure strategy is the bank's approach towards public-private partnerships, which one the one hand is more cautious than before. On the other hand however, while the bank's analysis recognises some of the drawbacks, it still too openly promotes them.

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Study | April 30, 2012

In light of the new proposed Regulation for the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA), Bankwatch has compiled case studies from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia to illustrate the lack of political will to properly implement EU principles on public participation. This represents a significant problem in the implementation of the IPA funds in these countries.

Policy comments | April 28, 2012

These comments from the Bulgarian Civic Coalition for sustainable use of EU funds identifies problematic issues and discrepancies between transport policy documents at EU and Bulgarian level. It offers concrete suggestions to overcome those problems and to improve the decision making process of the Bulgaria Operational Programme for Transport for the period 2014-2020.

Briefing | April 28, 2012

If implemented as currently planned, the road bypass of the town of Gabrovo, and the tunnel under the Shipka mountain - a project supported by EU funding - will harm a Natura 2000 zone and national biodiversity protected area. This briefing paper gives details on the project and calls on the European Commission to remind Bulgarian authorities of the need to allow for public participation and conduct an environmental assessment that takes alternatives into consideration.