Friends of the Earth launches legal complaint as U.S. EXIM approaches $1 billion mark for fossil fuel lending
WASHINGTON – Today, Friends of the Earth U.S. submitted an international complaint against the U.S. Export-Import Bank over its financing of overseas fossil fuel projects. This financing continues in spite of President Biden’s campaign promises, executive orders and international commitments.
The complaint, filed by Friends of the Earth United States, argues that EXIM is contravening the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises on Responsible Business Conduct by continuing to pour billions into fossil fuel projects, while taking no effective action to reduce its emissions or report on its emissions footprint. This comes as EXIM’s financing for fossil fuels soars ahead of the COP28 UN Climate Summit in Dubai, with 2023 financing alone nearing $1 billion after a range of controversial financing decisions this year.
Kate DeAngelis, Senior International Finance Program Manager at Friends of the Earth United States, said this:
As we rapidly approach the 1.5 degree mark, EXIM unashamedly continues to destroy our planet. The agency has repeatedly failed to take responsibility for how its support of fossil fuels impacts communities and worsens climate change. Instead, taxpayers are expected to look the other way as EXIM funds close to $1 billion in fossil fuel projects all over the world. It’s time for EXIM to stop gaslighting the public and cut financial ties with oil and gas.
Many more projects are under EXIM’s consideration, such as backing the Papua LNG project in Papua New Guinea and oil and gas development in Bahrain and Guyana. Such projects would push, meaning EXIM to breach the $1 billion mark in fossil financing very soon. EXIM, a key Biden administration agency, is a globally significant financier of fossil fuels – from 2017 to 2021, EXIM financed $5.78 billion in fossil fuels, and only $120 million to clean energy. These include an oil refinery in Indonesia, $400 million for Trafigura to aid in U.S. liquefied natural gas exports, and $240 million for a gas project in Iraq.
The OECD Guidelines require multinational enterprises to draw up emission reduction plans, avoid causing environmental damage and adhere to relevant national and international environmental policies. Government agencies and departments have previously been investigated under the guidelines in The Netherlands, South Korea, Denmark and others.
Complaints at the OECD, if accepted, force a mediation process between parties and can result in institutions having to change policies.
The complaint comes as the Biden Administration is increasingly called upon to fulfill pledges to end its international financing for fossil fuels. President Biden promised during his 2020 campaign that he would end the United States’ international public finance for fossil fuels. In office, he issued Executive Order 14008 on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad and the Presidents’ International Climate Finance Plan. The administration also joined 38 other countries and institutions in signing an agreement at the 2011 UN COP26 climate conference in Glasgow to end international public finance for fossil fuels.
CONTACT: Shaye Skiff, Friends of the Earth United States, [email protected]