U.S. export credit agency spends nearly $6 billion to finance fossil fuel projects abroad
New report shows the U.S. is the world’s third largest export credit supporter of fossil fuel projects abroad
Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Export-Import Bank (USEXIM) is the third largest supporter of fossil fuels among all G20 countries, according to a new report from Friends of the Earth U.S. and Oil Change International. USEXIM provided almost $6 billion annually to fossil fuel projects around the world between 2013 and 2015 with about 86 percent of the funds going to oil and gas projects.
“While Americans have rallied in support of clean renewable energy at home, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has made it a priority to handout money to fossil fuel companies to work on projects abroad,” said Kate DeAngelis of Friends of the Earth U.S. “If Trump gets his way, U.S. Export-Import Bank will become a slush fund for Big Oil’s plans to accelerate climate change. As the world’s largest historic emitter of carbon pollution, we should be supporting renewables across the U.S. and around the world.”
The report, entitled Financing Climate Disaster: How Export Credit Agencies Are a Boon for Oil and Gas, calls on USEXIM and other nations’ export credit agencies (ECAs) to phase out all financial support for fossil fuels by 2020 at the latest, in order to help prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
Among the most significant sources of public support for fossil fuel investments, ECAs provide government-backed guarantees, insurance, credits, and loans to support the export of goods and services abroad. In total, G20 ECAs provided over $37.9 billion annually for fossil fuels projects between 2013 and 2015. The vast majority of the funding – $32 billion – went toward oil and gas. Nearly 23 percent of the oil and gas financing went toward exploration of new oil and gas resources. In contrast, ECAs only invested seven percent of their energy funding into clean energy projects, 11 times less support than for oil and gas projects.
“It’s hard to imagine a worse use of public money than our governments throwing it away on massive fossil fuel projects, which damage our communities and the climate,” said Alex Doukas of Oil Change International. “Real climate leaders must chart a new course on export finance, investing these resources in the tremendous clean energy opportunity while pivoting away from fossil fuels.”
The large investments by ECAs in oil and gas projects increase the world’s emissions of methane, which is 87 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Methane emissions are a major problem for the oil and gas sector; some estimates put methane leakage from oil and gas production at 17 percent. Due to these methane emissions, natural gas can be as bad for the climate as coal.