A Free-Market Energy Blog

Deep State: Obama’s Carbon Colonialism/Corruption Continues (Part I)

By Paul Driessen and David Wojick -- August 6, 2018

“Left elites fear that newly middle class families would want more stuff: real houses, cars, refrigerators, stoves, lights, and vacations to exotic locales now enjoyed mostly by climate conference attendees. All that would require taking more resources out of the ground, which would hurt Mother Earth.”

“Indeed, the best way to ensure ‘climate resilience’ is to have strong economies, modern technologies, early warning systems, and modern infrastructures that are built to withstand nature’s onslaughts.”

It’s obscene enough when the multilateral anti-development banks do it. But Trump agencies?!?

In a prime example of Deep State revanchism, despite the profound change in administrations, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is still funding and advancing anti-energy Obama-era climate change dogmas and policies for developing countries. USAID handles tens of billions of dollars a year, roughly half of all US foreign aid, so this climate alarmism puts literally millions of lives at risk.

USAID calls its “flagship” program “low emissions development.” Emissions of course means plant-fertilizing, life-giving carbon dioxide – but the term is intended to suggest dangerous climate changing pollution. The effect, if not the intent, is to deprive poor countries of the enormous life-enhancing benefits of abundant, affordable electricity and fossil fuels, which created the health and wealth Americans enjoy.

President Trump and Congress need to terminate this poverty-perpetuating carbon colonialism – which USAID prefers to describe in this deceptive, eco-virtuous language:

Enhancing Capacity for Low Emission Development Strategies (EC-LEDS) is a flagship U.S. program that has forged partnerships with more than two dozen developing countries from Colombia to Indonesia to South Africa to Ukraine committed to and taking concrete actions to achieve low emission development. Under EC-LEDS, USAID, the State Department and other U.S. agencies work with partner countries to help develop tools and analyses to estimate GHG emissions and identify and pursue the best options for low emission growth.

In fact, says the agency, “this new development strategy marks the first time climate change will play a central role throughout the entire agency’s development efforts.” [emphasis added]

USAID itself could never function under the low-emission standards it imposes on nations that struggle daily with rampant poverty, disease, malnutrition, and premature death. Its employees could never run their own homes and lives under such standards. They would never tolerate having those restrictions imposed on them (though this might be a fascinating exercise that would bring out their true colors).

Eco-imperialist Aid Policies Didn’t End with Obama

As we have noted (here, here and here), Multinational anti-Development Banks use similar claims and language to justify their eco-imperialist, anti-fossil-fuel policies and lending practices. But especially during the Obama era, the State Department, its USAID operations and other US government agencies also prevented poor countries from using oil, natural gas, coal, and modern farming technologies.

That this continues is despicable. That even Trump State Department representatives to the 2017 Climate Summit in Bonn, Germany, were advancing Obama policies is intolerable. It needs to end, now.

The refusal of these “public servants” to be part of the new Administration is pure Deep State, guided in part by an Obama era document, “USAID Global Climate Change and Development Strategy 2012-2016.” Their plan is clearly based on climate alarmism that is increasingly rooted in computer models and hysterical claims that bear little resemblance either to global temperature trends over the past 20 years or to the actual history of droughts and extreme weather over the past century. The document asserts:

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation. USAID – as part of the broader [Obama] Presidential Global Climate Change Initiative (GCCI) – is addressing this challenge in ways that recognize both its severity and the opportunities clean economic growth presents to spur innovation and encourage investments that will have long lasting environmental and development benefits.

If we support countries to build climate resilience and move towards a “low carbon” economic growth pathway, we can help provide more stable and prosperous futures for the U.S. and for our partners, including new markets for clean technology and expansion of the green economy. Alternatively, if we are unable to meet this challenge, climate change could jeopardize many of the development gains the international community and the U.S. government have worked for decades to secure.

The policy was implemented in 2012. But 18 months after Mr. Trump was sworn in, current USAID national and regional websites – as well as the strategy document itself – still say it remains in effect and still “guides our work helping countries transition to lasting and climate-resilient, low-emission economic development.”

They say the policy is “Extended to September 2018,” and suggest that the “StratPlan” will be kept in force even if it technically expires in September. “Clean energy activities help countries attract the private investment they need to scale up sustainable and cost-effective renewable energy, minimizing pollution and keeping pace with today’s changing energy landscape,” the documents claim.

Moreover, the dogma will be “integrated” and implemented across all USAID activities: “Integration activities ensure climate change knowledge and practice is applied, where appropriate, across USAID’s development portfolio to protect U.S. investments from unforeseen risks.”

“Sustainable” energy thus ties into UN climate alarmism, alleged risks of “imminent resource depletion,” avoidance of “over-consumption,” and funding, guiding and imposing policies and programs that limit the number of people around the world who might achieve the middle and upper class living standards that USAID, UN, IPCC, World Bank and EU technocrats (and their environmentalist allies) already enjoy.

These elites fear that newly middle class families would want more stuff: real houses, cars, refrigerators, stoves, lights, and vacations to exotic locales now enjoyed mostly by climate conference attendees. All that would require taking more resources out of the ground, which would hurt Mother Earth.

Therefore, these billions of people who have electricity only a few hours a week, who “enjoy” life on the edge of the disease and starvation abyss, must be permitted to improve their lives only a little, only to the extent that it would conform to UN and USAID climate, sustainability and over-consumption guidelines.

Trump USAID Administrator Mark Green should have terminated this travesty his first day at the helm. At the very least, he, the White House and Congress should now serve notice that it will be rescinded in toto August 31– and then make sure it is totally repealed, defunded and shut down September 1.

Rescission must be active, not passive. It must cover all US and overseas USAID budgets, personnel, strategic plans, policies, “guidance” and policy statements, websites and other items that advance these climate, sustainability and related agendas. Funds and personnel should be reassigned, and Deep Staters complicit in perpetuating the programs after January 2017 should be disciplined or let go.

The Foreign Operations Appropriations bills now pending in the House and Senate provide all USAID funding, and are obvious vehicles for issuing permanent pro-energy, pro-people, pro-development rules.

We now turn to three major problems with the current USAID program. The first concern is humanitarian, discussed below. Part II tomorrow will discuss ecology and the problem of infectious diseases.

Problem 1: Meeting the Humanitarian Standard

These Obama era anti-fossil-fuel, anti-development, anti-people policies are cloaked in virtue-signaling language. But examined honestly and completely, they fail every humanitarian test.

USAID’s “Low Emission Development Strategies” do not “forge” partnerships with poor countries. They force (impose) partnerships that provide “climate mitigation,” “sustainable development” and renewable energy funding … which ends up primarily in the bank accounts of ruling elites in those nations.

The lives of impoverished families improve little, if at all. Above all, they get virtually no electricity that is reliable, affordable or plentiful enough to operate even small furniture making shops – much less establish and sustain modern communities and societies with roads, hospitals, schools and other infrastructure, including sanitation, clean water, indoor plumbing or even homes with window screens.

These families are not threatened by climate and weather fluctuations that are different from or more severe than what they have confronted and survived numerous times throughout their history. They are threatened by climate alarmist policies that keep them impoverished, diseased and malnourished – with few or no prospects for having the living standards, health and longevity they dream of.

USAID policies leave these families vulnerable to the extreme weather they have always confronted. They “protect” against minor climate changes like those they have faced throughout history – and against “dire” future climate and weather threats that exist only in GIGO computer model “projections.”

Worse, USAID policies perpetuate the horrendous conditions that result in millions of deaths every year from disease, malnutrition, and substandard infrastructure and housing. Modern fossil fuel energy systems would dramatically reduce these needless tragedies.

“Low emission growth” and “clean economic growth” are just code words for low economic growth and permanent poverty and misery. The terms could of course include hydroelectric and nuclear power, but rabid environmentalists opposed that, as well, and USAID does not support such energy projects.

Countries from Colombia to Indonesia to South Africa to Ukraine and beyond should no longer do what rich countries are doing now that they are rich. They should do what rich countries did to become rich.

It’s no wonder poor countries are angry about foreign aid that attaches so many anti-development strings. They increasingly point to Germany, Britain, Russia, the USA, and other wealthy nations that are embracing coal and natural gas to fuel economic recoveries, exporting fossil fuels to rich and poor nations alike, and ending wind and solar subsidies. Poor countries are saying, “Why shouldn’t we also produce and use the reliable, affordable fossil fuels that we have in abundance?”

Many of these countries have turned to China for financial and technological assistance, because the USAID, EU, and anti-development banks won’t help them. Self-described “civil society” groups now claim to be “concerned” about Chinese assistance. But the proper response is for Western nations and UN agencies to help poor countries build coal and gas plants, drill and frack for gas, build pipelines, make coal mines safer, build roads and rail lines, construct modern schools and hospitals – and stop making their loans and grants contingent on anti-people climate change and renewable energy restrictions.

Indeed, the best way to ensure “climate resilience” is to have strong economies, modern technologies, early warning systems, and modern infrastructures that are built to withstand nature’s onslaughts.


Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of books and articles on energy, climate change, and economic development. David Wojick is an independent analyst specializing in science and logic in public policy.


  1. Sean  

    Not to worry, the Chinese have stepped in with their own development bank and are happily funding fossil fuel development. Arrogant policies quickly become irrelevant as someone fills the void.


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  3. Jim  

    USAID is the most awful bureaucracy I have ever dealt with, bar none, and that’s saying a lot. Worse than the DMV, worse than the USPS, worse than building inspectors. An RFP for a $100,000 contract (which is chump change for them) will be 50 pages long and require the bidder to show how it contributes to women’s empowerment. I’m not kidding. In Afghanistan they would serve a tour for a year and never leave the grounds of the Embassy to interact with actual Afghans.


  4. aaron  

    When something as trivial as climate change is a priority, nothing is a priority.


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