A coalition of civil society organizations on Tuesday criticized the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for promoting a “corporate-led energy transition” and supporting fossil fuel projects.
The groups claimed ADB is focusing on techno-fixes and false solutions – fossil gas, carbon capture and storage (CCUS), waste-to-energy incinerators, and large hydro projects – which “detracts from real solutions to the climate crisis”.
The groups staged a protest rally in front of the ADB headquarters in Pasig City coinciding with the 18th Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF).
“Year in and year out, the ACEF has been a platform for discussion for anything but clean energy. Now, in the pipeline are energy projects that would produce dirty, harmful, and costly power,” said Lawyer Aaron Pedrosa of Sanlakas.
He said ADB intends to do business “at the expense of the life, health, livelihood, and environment of host communities in shameless disregard of recent climate science”.
Lawyer Avril De Torres of the Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development criticized the ADB’s support for fossil gas and false energy solutions. She said, “By failing to abandon gas, ADB consigns us to more years of polluting, costly power and in no way progress in breaking away from its dirty energy legacy.”
Chuck Baclagon of 350.org Asia emphasized the need to eliminate fossil fuels entirely and transition to clean, decentralized renewable sources.
“To truly decarbonize, we need to eliminate fossil fuels entirely. The objective is to transform the financial system to prioritize clean, reliable, and affordable energy systems, ultimately achieving a fossil-free future that benefits both the people and our planet,” he said.
Rovik Obanil of the Freedom from Debt Coalition said the public must oppose ACEF’s fixation, which he described as “dangerous detours”.
The civil society groups highlighted specific concerns regarding the ADB’s energy sector pipeline, including a coal-to-gas switching project in Kazakhstan, and proposed partnerships with the Indian Oil Corporation for carbon capture and storage (CCUS) piloting and green hydrogen utilization.
They argued that these projects do not accelerate the phase-out of coal, oil, and gas dependency and can exacerbate water stress and harm local communities.
Mark Moreno Pascual of Recourse said ADB’s concept of ‘clean energy, involves false solutions “meant to incentivize profitable exit routes for fossil fuel corporations”.
Yobel Novian Putra of GAIA Asia Pacific called for an end to the ADB’s support for Waste-to-Energy (WtE) incinerators, highlighting the reliance on fossil fuels and the harmful impact on communities and waste workers.
The civil society groups also raised concerns about the ADB’s financing for climate adaptation and mitigation, primarily in the form of loans, which could exacerbate debt burdens for borrowing member countries.
Lidy Nacpil of APMDD stressed the need for a rapid, direct, equitable, and just transition to 100% renewable energy systems and non-debt-creating climate finance.
Ian Rivera of the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice called for the ADB to break away from its corporate business model, emphasizing its failure to deliver genuine and transformative changes in the region.
The civil society groups demanded that the ADB take concrete steps to end its complicity in perpetuating social harm, ecological injustice, and the climate emergency.