Obama’s Last Move Before Leaving Office Helps Fund Green Energy Projects Abroad

The U.S. government almost doubled their financial support for solar and wind power projects overseas in 2017 under a “climate-friendly” investment policy written during the last days of the Obama administration.

According to Reuters, the growing U.S. support for foreign solar projects comes despite an ongoing federal investigation into past U.S. solar loans abroad. It also deepens confusion about President Donald Trump’s position on government support for renewable energy as his administration downplays the global warming threat and aggressively promotes fossil-fuel development.

The government’s international financial institution, The Overseas Private Investment Corporation loaned more than $630 million to fund foreign energy projects in 2017, 90 percent of which were solar, wind, or other low-carbon ventures.

The lendings to solar projects were twice more than in 2016 with policies supporting ventures in India, Africa, and Latin America. 

Reuters reported that White House spokeswoman Kelly Love did not respond to requests for comment.

OPIC, as a government agency, is self-funded with aims to advance “U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities” by investing in ventures abroad. The agency has been active for 40 years, during which time OPIC operated at no net cost to U.S. taxpayers.

OPIC’s interest in climate-friendly energy was made official in an environmental and social policy statement which was adopted only days before Trump’s inauguration. The document states that the agency goals are to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and promote low and no-carbon fuels and technologies, efficiency and conservation.

This document corresponds with former President Barack Obama’s attempts to fight climate change, but it is completely opposite to the policy that the current administration promotes.

Since the presidential campaign, Trump has shown his position on climate change, which after taking office resulted in immediate roll-back of all regulations that were limiting carbon dioxide emissions in order to help coal and oil firms. Trump also signed an executive order that requires government agencies to reduce the influence of climate considerations in decisions. And lastly, the biggest global effect was Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Climate Change Accord, an international pact to combat global warming.

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