SAN FRANCISCO - November 14 - As talks over a solution to the
problem of global climate change wrap up in
Nairobi this week, a broad coalition of
environmental and human rights groups purchased a
full page ad in The Financial Times today calling
on the World Bank and G8 nations to end subsidies
for the international oil industry that come at
the expense of the environment and impoverished
countries. The groups also called on policymakers
to help fight global poverty by supporting broader debt cancellation.
Following on the heels of the just released Stern
Report, which called climate change "the greatest
and widest-ranging market failure ever seen," the
ad criticizes the World Bank for having provided
more than $5 billion in subsidies to the oil
industry since 1992, while devoting only five
percent of its energy budget to clean, renewable
energy sources. The U.S. government has spent
even more on subsidies for Big Oil, a policy
which has fueled global warming, encouraged oil
dependence, and increased conflict, poverty and
debt around the world. The ad notes, "On November
7, Americans voted for an agenda that called for
an end to the support of Big Oil, and we urge
Congress to act on this promise in the coming months."
According to the ad, "Soaring oil prices are
undermining the benefits of limited debt
cancellation in many of the world's most
impoverished countries, particularly those that
are oil importers.the estimated cost of
Tanzania's oil imports rose from $190 million in
2002 to $480 million this year - for the same
amount of oil. In comparison, debt cancellation
is expected to only free up about $140 million
for Tanzania in 2006. Furthermore, this
cancellation doesn't even touch on the debt held
by large private banks in London, Paris and New York."
While the world's poorest nations suffer, oil
companies are raking in record profits.
ExxonMobil reported profits of $4.7 million an hour in July 2006.
In Chad, the World Bank supported an ExxonMobil
oil project that has exacerbated conflict and
poverty in the African nation. Upon completion of
the project, Chad's authoritarian president
increased military spending and ripped up an
agreement with the World Bank meant to ensure
that oil revenues went to fighting poverty. The
World Bank ended its objections as soon as the
president threatened to cut off the oil if his terms were not accepted.
When Ecuador's government sought to use oil
revenues to alleviate poverty, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank protested
by withholding promised new lending and forced
the country to pay its debt to the IMF, World Bank and other creditors.
"Around the world, our tax dollars have been
improperly used to subsidize Big Oil instead of
providing clean energy for the poor, combating
climate change, and ending our destructive oil
addiction," the ad continues. "It is time for G8
governments and institutions like the World Bank
to stop using development assistance to support Big Oil."
The organizations that purchased the ad include
Rainforest Action Network, Jubilee USA, Oil
Change International, Bank Information Center,
Friends of the Earth and Amazon Watch.
For more information, visit www.endoilaid.org.