By Anders Lorenzen
Progressive politicians around the world are talking up the idea of a green recovery as a way to bounce back from the COVID-19 outbreak. But perhaps it is no big surprise that the fossil fuel loving Trump administration takes a different approach.
The US government is preparing plans for a very generous and lucrative bond bailout gift to fossil fuel companies.
According to the Guardian, at least 90 fossil fuel companies, some of them amongst the world’s largest oil companies such as Exxon Mobil, are set to gain from this bailout.
The coronavirus bond buyback programme is believed to be worth at least $750bn, and is overall likely to benefit thousands of companies. It is not yet known how big a proportion of those funds will go to the fossil fuel industry.
But It is believed, according to analysis, that ten out of the top 40 fracking companies would be eligible to apply for the bailout package.
The drastic plunge in the oil price has thrown the future of many oil companies into doubt. But the drop in energy demand is also heavily impacting coal companies. To qualify for the bailout, the Federal Reserve scheme which is administered by Black Rock, applicant companies must obtain a specific credit rating; BBB-Baa3.
It is quite likely the bailout came after heavy lobbying by the fossil fuel industry. On Twitter the Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse tweeted that one particular oil and gas company has spent four million on political lobbying for COVID-19 aid packages.
In similar news Republicans accused Wall Street of discriminating against fossil fuels by dropping their support for fossil fuel projects.
Many experts will not be surprised by the fossil fuel bailout move, as Trump in his tenure as president has been a champion of the fossil fuel industry, while doing everything he can to slow down efforts to tackle climate change.
The US is the country in the world where the coronavirus outbreak has had the worst impact. At the time of writing 1.8 million cases have been detected with more 100,000 deaths.
2020 is also a crucial election year and in November Americans will go to the polls to elect the next US president, that is if the coronavirus outbreak allows it to take place. Depending on whether we will see a Trump or Joe Biden presidency the country’s energy policy would change significantly.