Despite the efforts the Obama administration has claimed to take to help stop the effects of climate change, American exports of fossil fuels, including gasoline and diesel, have double under President Obama. And while the administration claims to have reduced carbon emissions by 475 million tons from 2008 to 2013, those exported fuels have canceled out that reduction by releasing roughly 1 billion tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere, according to an analysis from the Associated Press.
Panama is the largest recipient of “diesel fuel dirtier and more carbon-laden than would be allowed in engines in the US, and the fuel is used in cars and trucks that do not have the same efficiency standards and are not regularly maintained.” The country does have a requirement that drivers test for emissions, but it is “almost completely” ignored.
“It’s a false image,” said Onel Masardule of the Indigenous People’s Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative, an environmental group based out of Peru. “In reality, the US is still contaminating.”
Under President Obama, there has been a boom in domestic fossil fuel production, which has created jobs, reduced US dependence on foreign markets, increased exports. But in terms of climate change, “fuel exports mean that, at the very least, the administration is making a smaller dent than it claims,” said the AP.
“This is their hidden success story that they would like to keep hidden,” Kevin Book, a Washington-based energy analyst, told the AP. “It has done a lot to improve our balance of trade standing, but it is not the most climate-friendly way to do it. There is no way to avoid that there is a bigger emissions impact when you have more to combust.”
The White House, of course, claims that it is working to strengthen the environment provisions in its global trade agreements and that exports “do not add more carbon to the atmosphere because they replace fuel that would come from someplace else.”
But the fact of the matter is, whether we are burning it at home or selling it to be burned abroad, the American contribution to global climate change is tremendous, and something must change, and fast, if we are to have any hope of reducing that change.