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Climate Change to Have Greater Role in Int'l Loans

Posted Feb 13 2009 4:50pm
Not many know that U.S financing institutions like Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) went out of their way from 1995 to 2006 to lend more than $21 billion to support fossil fuel plants and refineries around the world.

LA Times reporter Margot Roosevelt cites an investigative report that found a cumulative CO2 emission of 12 billion metric tons from 48 U.S financed projects in advanced developing countries. There was blatant leniency in the past to accept the notion that "impacts of global climate change are too remote and speculative."

The rise of advanced developing countries like India, Brazil, Mexico, and others is directly correlated to an increase in export-led economic growth to the developed world. Most of these nations are heavily dependent on aid and funding from developed nations and international development organizations like the World Bank and IMF. Therefore, despite the larger opportunity cost of environmental degradation, their perceived best option is to dance to the tunes of financing giants like Ex-Im and OPIC.

The lawsuit filed against Ex-Im and OPIC by environment groups like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, along with the cities of Santa Monica, Oakland, Arcata and Boulder, has provided a break from this vicious cycle. The settlement reached requires Ex-Im and OPIC to take responsibility for their impact on the climate by considering climate impacts and to make an investment of $250 million in renewable energy projects abroad.
Carbonfund.org makes it easy and affordable for any individual or business to reduce and offset their carbon footprint. www.carbonfund.org
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