At the Climate 2020 website today, my colleague Ryan Brightwell has been assessing the ‘green-ness’ of green bonds, an increasingly popular financial instrument intended to be all about generating investment in environmentally sustainable projects. Given their rise to prominence, Ryan describes these bonds as ‘the new black in the world of environmental finance’, and mentions how the proceeds of one green bond issued by the Export-Import Bank of India are being deployed to develop a railway link vital to the operations of the proposed Rampal coal plant project in Bangladesh. This post digs deeper into Exim Bank’s green bond deal – one with very black implications for the world-renowned Sundarbans mangrove forest and its inhabitants.
The gloves are now well and truly off in the Rampal coal plant saga taking place in Bangladesh. The country’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has just recently placed coal protesters in danger by saying they are equivalent to the terrorists who murdered 24 people in a Dhaka café in July. The assumption has to be that resorting to this kind of mud-slinging is a sure sign that you’re defending the indefensible – and, too, that the justifications being put up for your ‘dream project’ by the project’s promoters are now being revealed to be seriously deficient.
To wit, we’re publishing a new, detailed and – necessarily, very necessarily – long rebuttal from campaign colleagues at the National Committee for Saving the Sundarbans to threadbare and often misleading assertions from the Bangladesh-India Friendship Power Company Ltd (BIFCL) which have been circulating over the summer.
In short: science, we believe, trumps sloppiness and spin.
Last weekend, over a thousand Bangladeshis and Indians gathered in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to take part in a four day, 250 kilometre ‘Long March’ to voice a clear message: Save the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest.
The Bangladeshi and Indian governments are currently intent on building a coal-fired power plant in the Rampal region 14 kilometres northwest of the Sundarbans, widely known as ‘the lungs of Bangladesh’, and only four kilometres from the designated ecological boundary of the sprawling forest, a World Heritage site and a Ramsar protected wetland.