"World Bank's $3.75bn Coal Plant Loan Defies Environment Criticism"

"The World Bank approved a controversial $3.75 billion loan to build one of the world's largest coal plants in South Africa yesterday, defying international protests and sharp criticism from the Obama administration that the project would fuel climate change.

The proposed Medupi station, operated by South Africa's state-owned Eskom company, was fiercely opposed by an international coalition of grassroots, church and environmental activists who said it would hurt the environment and do little to help end poverty. As planned, it would put out 25m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and would prevent South Africa making good on a promise to try to curb future emissions. ...

America, Britain, the Netherlands, Italy and Norway registered their opposition to the loan by abstaining from the vote, the traditional method of dissent on the board which operates by consensus.

In a statement, the US treasury department said the loan was incompatible with the bank's stated commitment to promoting low carbon economic development."

Suzanne Goldenberg reports for the UK Guardian April 9, 2010.

Friday, April 9, 2010