Look closer and you will see that US tax dollars are helping to fund climate change.
The US is currently the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the
main cause of climate change. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit (who
are members of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and all US
citizens) are victims of climate change, and claim that the
government's use of tax dollars to fund dirty fossil fuel projects
is what is driving climate change around the world.
It all starts when US citizens hand over their tax dollars to
the government. The suit charges that the Export-Import Bank of the
United States (Ex-Im) and the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation (OPIC), two governmental agencies, financed dozens of
fossil fuel projects that significantly contribute to climate
change, in violation of federal environmental law.
By bringing on the lawsuit, the plaintiffs want to force OPIC
and Ex-Im to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA), which requires all federally funded agencies to conduct an
environmental review of programs and project-specific decisions
having a significant effect on the environment.
Arthur and Anne Berndt own and operate Maverick
Farm in Sharon, Vermont. They have owned Maverick Farm since 1988
and are members of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth. Maverick
Farm is one of the largest maple syrup producers in Vermont
producing maple syrup from sap drawn from approximately 15,000 to
16,000 sugar maple trees.
However, the Berndts understand that as a result of climate
change, there will be a significant northward shift in the
prevailing forest types. According to official US government
reports, the maple-beech-birch forest is projected to shift north
into Canada and will no longer be dominant in the northeastern US
by the late 21st century. At current rates of warming, this shift
is likely to occur with the next ten to twenty years, and possibly
sooner if the warming is accompanied by outbreaks of pests or
"We all feel nervous about climate change," says Arthur Berndt.
"If we have no maples we have no farm income and the aesthetic
value of the land will be devastated. This would adversely affect
the economic and conservation value of my farm."
Another plaintiff, Dr. Phillip Dustan, is a full-time professor in
the Biology Department of the College of Charleston in Charleston,
South Carolina. He is a member of Friends of the Earth.
Dr. Dustan started his study of coral reefs in 1969. Much of his
work has focused on coral reefs off the Florida Keys. In 1974, he
established long-term reef monitoring sites in the Key Largo
National Marine Sanctuary. This site is the oldest permanently
marked coral reef study site in the Eastern Atlantic/Caribbean
Climate change is a significant factor responsible for this loss
of coral. Climate change is affecting Phillip because its effects
diminish opportunities for fundamental biological research and his
source of livelihood. His family is also at risk because of climate
They bought land on John's Island, in South Carolina in 1999 and
are building a home there now approximately 5.5 miles from the
ocean and on land eight feet above sea level. Climate change is
causing rising sea levels, increased storm severity, and increased
storm frequency. As a result, Phillip and his family are building
the home higher and stronger than required by current code even
though the home is over five miles from the ocean. This is costing
him a significant amount of money. His insurance for the new home
is more expensive, which Phillip believes is attributable to the
effects of climate change.
Instead of funding renewable energy solutions to climate change,
federal agencies like the Ex-Im and OPIC are funneling taxpayer
dollars to increase the profits of corporate polluters such as
ExxonMobil who is the number one corporate villain on climate
Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the City of Boulder
Colorado are representing their members in the lawsuit against the
With millions of dollars of financial assistance from Ex-Im and
OPIC, ExxonMobil, in partnership with Chevron, is constructing an
oil pipeline from Chad to Cameroon in Central
Africa that will result in 445.9 million tonnes of Co2
emissions during its anticipated life. The oil extracted from Chad
will be shipped from the coast of Cameroon to international markets
including the US.
Ex-Im and OPIC did not comply with NEPA before deciding to
finance this project.
Find out more about the planmtiffs and their