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World Bank Approves $3 Billion Loan for Controversial Coal Plant in South Africa

April 12th, 2010

On April 8th 2010, the World Bank approved a controversial $ 3 billion loan for a coal-fired power station to ESKOM, the South Africa-based, state owned electricity utility, despite serious concerns from environmental organizations and the faith community. United States, Britain and Norway, Italy and the Netherlands abstained from voting for the coal loan due to unresolved environmental concerns and economic impacts on local communities.

More than 200 organizations across the world have endorsed a critique of the loan saying it will be a burden to poor people who will likely see their household bills increase, while international extractive corporations will continue to receive subsidized energy due to special pricing agreements with Eskom

Eskom is the world’s fourth-largest power company and Africa’s largest carbon emitter, and accounts for 40% of South Africa’s total emissions. The loan raised serious environmental concerns such as pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and raised questions about the World Bank’s commitment to renewable energy sources.

In the spirit of solidarity with Oblate missions in South Africa who will likely be impacted by this deal, the Oblate JPIC staff, in partnership with other coalition groups in Washington D.C., joined forces in a campaign to raise awareness with officials at the World Bank and in the United States Congress about the potential negative impact of the plant on poor people’s access to energy and environmental impacts in South Africa.

The Oblate JPIC Office endorsed a letter signed by more than 200 organizations addressed to the World Bank, and joined in lobby meetings with South African community and environmental leaders who came to the United States.

One of the South Africans who came is Mr. Desmond D’Sa of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance in Durban. He is also an active member of a Catholic Church staffed by the Missionary Oblates in Durban. Before Desmond left Washington D.C, he did a TV/Radio interview with Democracy Now. Click here…

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