Another blow to Biden’s climate commitment

[Washington, DC] Today the board of the US Export-Import Bank (EXIM) approved $500 million to expand oil and gas production in Bahrain, despite Biden’s commitment to end international public finance for fossil fuels made in 2021. 

Today’s board approval is the fifth major project the bank has backed since Biden’s commitment at the 2021 UN Climate Conference in Glasgow with the Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP). This brings EXIM’s total international fossil fuel financial support to $1.3 billion since the deadline passed at the end of 2022 for the Biden administration to follow through on the commitment.

At least 60% of EXIM’s current $40+ billion portfolio directly supports fossil fuel-producing or dependent sectors like oil, gas, and aviation, with only 0.2% for renewable energy.

Nina Pušic, Export Finance Climate Strategist, at Oil Change International, said:
“EXIM’s decision to approve the Bahrain oil and gas project is another alarming step in the wrong direction for climate action, as the bank goes rogue and continues to defy President Biden’s promises. Coming in at $500 million dollars, the Bahrain project is a huge climate bomb paid for by the American taxpayer. This approval signals another setback for Biden’s climate commitments, and cements the United States yet again as the worst of the laggard countries in violation of the promise to end international public finance for fossil fuels. 

“As many other countries are leading in implementing their commitment and already shifting at least $6 billion per year away from fossil fuels, Biden and the United States are approving projects that exacerbate our climate crisis and threaten communities. The U.S. must instead help lead a shift of billions of dollars from last century’s dirty energy into the clean, renewable energy of the future, but approvals like Bahrain are a huge step backward.”

Noa Greene-Houvras, 17, an organizer with Fridays For Future NYC, said: 
“We are horrified at the decision to send $500 million to new oil projects in Bahrain. The United States has lost any credibility it had as a climate leader, and instead has proven to be led by forces like EXIM to prop up a dying industry while simultaneously killing its own people. As youth we are watching our future slip away, engulfed by fire and flood. To not only stand by during a climate emergency but to further it is a catastrophe choice. We are both terrified and baffled at this decision making process, and we will not let this stand.”