EXIM under Biden risks repeating mistakes of Obama in supporting Papua LNG
WASHINGTON— Today, 27 environmental and civil society organizations from Papua New Guinea, the Asia Pacific region and the United States submitted a letter to the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) urging it to oppose support for the Category A Papua liquefied natural gas project. This project presents significant financial risks and opportunity costs, as well as harmful climate impacts.
Approving the project would risk $13 billion in stranded assets without securing guaranteed sales, and further jeopardize global climate goals at a time when Pacific islands are vulnerable to climate change impacts. Instead, investing in renewable energy would achieve greater progress in pulling communities out of poverty in a country where more than 40% of the population live below the poverty line.
“The people of PNG are already facing the full force of climate change,” said Peter Bosip, Executive Director for the Centre for Environmental Law and Community Rights (CELCOR). “Rising sea levels, extreme weather events, and environmental degradation are already threatening many people’s existence and threatening our way of life. Papua LNG will add to and exacerbate this climate crisis – and financiers cannot, and should not, finance it.”
Approval of this project would directly contradict the United States’ commitment to “end new, direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector within one year of signing this statement.” Approval of this project would also further position the United States as an international laggard on climate and put Pacific frontline communities at further environmental, social, and economic risk.
“The U.S. Export-Import Bank seems determined to repeat its past mistake by continually approving support for liquefied natural gas projects in Papua New Guinea, which are harmful for local communities and the climate,” said Kate DeAngelis, Senior International Finance Program Manager for Friends of the Earth U.S. “Climate science has advanced greatly in the last 10 to 15 years, yet EXIM is failing to keep up. It should reject another handout to ExxonMobil and instead invest in renewables that will help the people of Papua New Guinea transition to a clean energy future.”
“EXIM’s potential support for this project signals that the agency and this administration is not serious about achieving international climate goals,” said Nina Pusic, Export Finance Climate Strategist at Oil Change International. “Approving this project risks wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on infrastructure that will become a stranded asset, and worse, further places our climate goals of minimizing global warming to 1.5°C far out of reach.”
As the International Energy Agency and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have made clear, any new oil and gas expansion is incompatible with preventing global temperatures from exceeding 1.5ºC.
Press Contact: Shaye Skiff, Friends of the Earth United States, [email protected]