Multilateral lenders vow openness about their carbon footprints

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THE World Bank gets a lot of flak. Developing countries clamour for a bigger role in its management. President Donald Trump’s administration lambasts it for lending too much to China. Last year employees openly griped about a crisis of leadership under their boss, Jim Yong Kim. Now the embattled institution faces criticism from a traditionally friendlier quarter: environmentalists. They accuse it and other multilateral development banks (MDBs) of not being upfront about their true carbon footprint.

That must hurt. After all, MDBs pioneered climate-friendly finance. Ten years ago the European Investment Bank issued the world’s first green bond to bolster renewables and energy-efficiency schemes. The World Bank has not backed a coal-fired plant since 2010. In 2011-16 it and the five big regional lenders in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe offered developing countries a total of $158bn to help combat climate change and adapt to its effects. They disclose the amount of…

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