U.S. President Barack Obama. (Disney | ABC Television Group / (CC BY-ND 2.0))
The Obama administration financed 70 fossil fuel projects in countries from India to Australia to South Africa with nearly $34 billion through the Export-Import Bank, an investigation by the Guardian and Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project has found.
The Guardian reports:
This unprecedented backing of oil, coal and gas projects is an unexpected footnote to Obama’s own climate change legacy. The president has called global warming “terrifying” and helped broker the world’s first proper agreement to tackle it, yet his administration has poured money into developments that will push the planet even closer to climate disaster.
For people living next to US-funded mines and power stations the impacts are even more starkly immediate.
Guardian and Columbia reporters have spent time at American-backed projects in India, South Africa and Australia to document the sickness, upheavals and environmental harm that come with huge dirty fuel developments.
In India, we heard complaints about coal ash blowing into villages, contaminated water and respiratory and stomach problems, all linked to a project that has had more than $650m in backing from the Obama administration.
In South Africa, another huge project is set to exacerbate existing air pollution problems, deforestation and water shortages. And in Australia, an enormous US-backed gas development is linked to a glut of fracking activity that has divided communities and brought a new wave of industrialization next to the cherished Great Barrier Reef.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly