NOVEMBER 21, 2012
In the midst of an economic crisis and a looming fiscal cliff, President Obama has generously committed $6 billion for a “sustainable energy” partnership with Asia. You can’t help but wonder what the commander-in-chief is thinking!
It’s bad enough that he’s blown hundreds of millions of dollars on failed clean energy programs in the United States (remember the $535 million Solyndra boondoggle) but now he’s asking American taxpayers to finance similar dubious projects 10,000 miles away. Check out the White House fact sheet announcing the brilliant plan, which is officially called the U.S.-Asia Pacific Comprehensive Partnership for a Sustainable Energy.
Its announcement was timed around President Obama’s tour of Asian Pacific countries this week. Under the plan the federal government will blow $6 billion over four years to bring “renewables and cleaner energy” to selected Asian nations. Details are still sketchy, but according to the White House announcement, this will occur because the cash will increase access to American technology, services and equipment.
The goal is to help Asia “implement energy infrastructure,” the feds claim. This is dire because energy and the environment are among the most pressing issues confronting our region, according to the White House fact sheet. Benefitting from Uncle Sam’s largess will be the tiny southeastern Asian country of Brunei (population around 400,000) and nearby Indonesia, which is huge in comparison with around 250 million residents.
The new “partnership will offer a framework for consolidating and expanding energy and environmental cooperation across existing regional forums to advance efforts to ensure affordable, secure, and cleaner energy supplies for the region,” the White House asserts. “Bilateral and multilateral energy and environmental initiatives are flourishing in the Asia Pacific, and the United States, in partnership with Brunei and Indonesia, will help coordinate and enhance these efforts, share best practices, and leverage existing initiatives across the various forums that undertake this work.”
Here are some examples of how this will all go down as per the administration; the State Department, which is responsible for implementing the nation’s foreign policy, will oversee a $1 million “energy capacity-building fund to support partnership activities via project preparation and technical assistance.” The U.S. government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), which supposedly helps American businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, will provide up to $1 billion in financing for sustainable power and energy infrastructure projects and the Export-Import Bank of the United States, the country’s official export credit agency, will make $5 billion available to eligible countries.
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