U.S. federal agencies, World Bank help developing countries emit more

President Bush has made clear his feelings on global-warming mitigation: “We all can make major strides, and yet there won’t be a reduction until China and India are participants.” So it seems a wee bit hypocritical that the United States is actually contributing to global-warming emissions in China, India, and other developing countries. Since 1995, two federally controlled agencies — the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. — have spent $21 billion in loans and loan guarantees for fossil-fuel projects in more than 40 countries. The U.S. is also the largest shareholder in and a heavy influence on the World Bank, another contributor to CO2-spewing international projects; newly released documents show that the U.S. has pushed the bank to exclude climate concerns from investment calculations. As a result of such political pressure, the bank doesn’t currently measure the impacts of fossil-fuel projects it supports — and doesn’t expect to for another two years.

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