A year ago, World Bank President Robert Zoellick committed the lending institution to "significantly step up our assistance" to fight climate change through its loans. Instead, the World Bank is increasing its financing of fossil-fuel projects worldwide. One example is the coal-powered Tata Ultra Mega power plant in western India, a $4.14 billion project scheduled to go online in 2012. When it is fully operational, it will become one of the world's 50 largest greenhouse-gas emitters and "will emit more carbon dioxide annually than the nation of Tunisia," according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The World Bank will provide "$450 million in loans and guarantees for the project and also may buy a $50 million stake in it." While the U.S. is insisting that developing countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the World Bank -- over which it has tremendous influence -- is supporting projects that do the opposite. "The World Bank's lending record does not match up to Zoellick's rhetoric," says Heike Mainhardt-Gibbsof the Bank Information Center, a World Bank watchdog group. "The institution is simply not slowing down its significant funding to fossil-fuel projects that will emit greenhouse gases for 20 to 40 years."
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