Obama Administration Poised to Provide Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Financing for Coal in India, Undercutting Clean Energy Jobs in the U.S.

For Immediate Release

Obama Administration Poised to Provide Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Financing for Coal in India, Undercutting Clean Energy Jobs in the U.S.

WASHINGTON - Tomorrow, the U.S. Export-Import
Bank (Ex-Im Bank) board is scheduled to reconsider an application to
provide hundreds of millions of dollars in financing to India's Reliance
Power Ltd. for the 4,000 megawatt Sasan coal power and mine
project. Three weeks ago, the board appropriately rejected financing for
Sasan based on its massive carbon dioxide emissions. The project would
generate some 26 million annual tons of CO2, more than the bank's annual
emissions for all fossil fuel projects approved by Ex-Im Bank in 2009.[1]
 

"Clean energy provides more jobs and
does more to advance American competitiveness and security than fossil
fuels," said Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica, noting a recent study showing that investing in clean
tech exports generates twice as many jobs as a comparable investment in
the oil, gas or coal sectors.[2] "Scarce public resources should ensure that the
U.S. leads the world in transitioning to a new clean economy, not prop
up dirty and dangerous fossil fuels."
 

Ex-Im's new carbon policy allows the
Ex-Im Bank board to decline a transaction due to its detrimental
effects. But after intense lobbying from Bucyrus, a
Wisconsin-based coal mining equipment company, Ex-Im Bank backtracked on
the Sasan decision by allowing Reliance Power to submit a new
application, which reportedly will include an additional solar energy
component but will not lower the pollution of the coal plant.  

"It appears as though Ex-Im Bank
went to the Enron school of energy accounting," said Doug Norlen, Policy
Director of Pacific Environment. "Adding a solar energy project does
nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Sasan. This is just
business as usual, which is to support dirty energy projects at the
expense of green jobs. Ex-Im Bank should reject the Sasan project and
instead use its money to support America's clean energy jobs to support
renewable energy exports around the world."
 

"The White House's swing
state politics forced the Ex-Im Bank to botch the agency's first major
test of its new carbon policy," said Steve Kretzmann, Executive Director
of Oil Change International. "It also puts the agency at odds with the
Administration's other climate efforts, including a G20 commitment to
phase out fossil fuel subsidies and a recent decision to not support the
massive Medupi coal project in South Africa with World Bank funding."
 

Environmentalists also worry that
the reversal of the Sasan decision would set a dangerous precedent for
other coal projects in the Ex-Im Bank pipeline, including the 4,800
megawatt Kusile coal power project in South Africa, which would emit
30.5 million tons of carbon dioxide annually. Over 95% of Ex-Im's energy
portfolio is already based on fossil fuels,[3] and a series of
politically-motivated decisions to fund high-carbon projects would put
Ex-Im even further out of step with the Administration's pledges to
promote clean energy jobs and tackle climate change.
 

"Ex-Im Bank's consideration of the
provision of U.S. taxpayers financing for further fossil fuel projects
in South Africa, while the World Bank Inspection Panel is considering a
formal investigation into the $3.75 billion loan for the Medupi project,
shows how unwilling the Obama administration is towards committing to
real change," said Sunita Dubey of Groundwork, a climate justice network
based in South Africa. 
 

If approved, the two projects
combined would total 56.5 millions annual tones of greenhouse gas
emissions more than tripling the volume of emissions supported by Ex-Im
Bank in 2009, which was a record year in it self for emissions.


A free and independent press is essential to the health of a functioning democracy

[1] In 2009, the
direct carbon dioxide emissions associated with Ex-Im Bank projects
amounted to 17.9 million tons, which itself represented a record year of
emissions.


[2]
For every million
dollars invested, 13.5 jobs are created in the clean tech export
sector, versus just 3.7 jobs or 4.9 jobs in the oil and gas and the coal
industry, respectively. See: Getting Back in the Game: U.S. Job Growth
Potential From Expanding Clean Technology Markets in Developing
Countries, WWF, 2010, available at http://www.worldwildlife.org/climate/Publications/WWFBinaryitem16090.pdf


[3]
In 2009 Ex-Im
Bank financing for renewable energy was less than 4% of the agency's
financing for fossil fuel projects, or $101 million and $2.56 billion,
respectively. To see trends in Ex-Im Bank fossil fuel and renewable
energy financing, click here.

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Pacific Environment is a non-profit organization based in San Francisco that protects the living environment of the Pacific Rim by promoting grassroots activism, strengthening communities and reforming international policies. Pacific Environment is part of a coalition that provided input to the Export-Import Bank on the development of its new climate change policies following the settlement of a lawsuit challenging Export-Import Bank's support of greenhouse gas-emitting projects. Visit www.pacificenvironment.org.

Friends of the Earth and its network of grassroots groups in 77 countries defend the environment and champion a more healthy and just world. Friends of the Earth was a principal plaintiff in a 2002 landmark lawsuit challenging the U.S. Export-Import Bank's support for greenhouse gas-emitting projects, and is part of a coalition that provided input to Ex-Im Bank on the development of its new climate change policies. Visit www.foe.org

Oil Change Internationalcampaigns to expose the true costs of oil and facilitate the coming transition towards clean energy. We are dedicated to identifying and overcoming political barriers to that transition. Oil Change International is a leader in international efforts to stop fossil fuel subsidies and is part of a coalition that provided input to the Export-Import Bank on the development of its new climate change policies following the settlement of a lawsuit challenging Export-Import Bank's support of greenhouse gas-emitting projects. Visit www.priceofoil.org

Groundwork is a a non-profit environmental justice service and developmental organization working primarily in South Africa but increasingly in Southern Africa. Groundwork seeks to improve the quality of life of vulnerable people in South Africa, and increasingly in Southern Africa, through assisting civil society to have a greater impact on environmental governance. Groundwork places particular emphasis on assisting vulnerable and previously disadvantaged people who are most affected by environmental injustices.

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