World Bank to Continue Investing in Oil and Mining

Sigh. The World Bank announced this week that it will continue to invest in oil, gas, and mining projects. Concern that such investments encourage the enrichment of corrupt elites and exacerbate rather than alleviate poverty led the bank to commission an independent review of extractive investments in 2000. Led by Emil Salim, former environment minister of Indonesia, the review concluded that, yes, such investments are destructive — it called for an end to oil-related investments by 2008 and a radical rethinking of other such investments. The World Bank’s management this week said the bank will continue such investments, but with a renewed focus on environmental and social standards, and will increase investment in renewable energies. Disappointed enviros dismissed the bank’s response as largely cosmetic.